Worm's Head 2008
Winding into the Atlantic.
It is sometimes said that coastlines are like fractals.
When seen from a distance, they look jagged.
When you look more closely at a part that seemed to be smooth, it can be seen to be as jagged as the overall coastline.
Looking even more closely at an apparently smooth part of that closer view, shows that the pattern continues indefinitely.
Wales is a peninsula, on the side of Great Britain. In the south of Wales is a large peninsula, called Gower.
Gower is large enough to have many peninsulas of its own, such as the Three Cliffs of Three Cliffs Bay, Oxwich Point, and Mumbles Head.
And of course, most of these will have tiny peninsulas of their own.
However, on the furthest point of Gower is one of the most impressive and unconventional peninsulas; Worm's Head.
Unconventional because it is not always a peninsula.
At high tide it is either one or two islands, depending on how high the tide is, and how big the waves are.
At low tide, a natural causeway connects it to the mainland, making a narrow, winding peninsula, 1.61 kilometres long.
It remains open for 3-5 hours at each low tide, giving easily enough time for a visit.
Gower is a designated Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty - the first such area in Britain - with its coastline alternating between rugged cliffs and picture-perfect beaches.
It shows in the popularity.
The city beach of Swansea Bay (at the start of the Gower), Mumbles, Caswell Bay, and Oxwich Bay are all flooded with tourists
whenever the sun threatens to shine, and at the far end, an enormous car park services Rhossili.
Rhossili Bay is a favourite spot for bathers and surfers, especially due to the effects of the weather sweaping up the Bristol Channel.
Fortunately, when the tide is out, a very large amount of beach is uncovered, and it actually feels quite empty.
- The large Rhossili Bay, where you may notice the multi-coloured surf-boards lining the shoreline.
At the far end of the bay is Burry Holms, a small tidal island that becomes a tombolo peninsula
(connected to the mainland by a short sand spit) at low tide, at about the same time as Worm's Head.
On the right is the Rhossili Down, with the high point being The Beacon, the highest point on Gower at just 193 metres.
- Sea cliffs with the almost invisible remains of the Old Castle.
- View from the cliffs of the two main parts of Worms Head, showing the higher parts of the causeway just emerging from the sea.
- This area is also popular for hang gliders and paragliders, who take off from the down.
- Loadsa. The paragliders just sit there, almost perfectly still, hardly changing, watching the hang gliders speed past to look at some other part of the coast.
- Slightly blurry (grrr) closeup.
- The remains of the Helvetia (no "c"), partly covered by the sands of Rhossili Bay, revealed by the lowering tide. The ship was wrecked here in severe storms in 1887, and while its cargo was reclaimed and sold, the ship itself was not.
- Bow of the Helvetia.
- Limestone cliffs at Rhossili Bay.
- Hang gliders. The one on the right was impressively fast, nearly twice as fast as the standard designs seen on the left.
- Limestone headland at the lookout point, at the path to Worm's Head.
- The exposed causeway. From here it took me 35 minutes each way, plus a bit to look around. Some of the others who were making their way to the end took an hour each way. Many of the slower walkers only got half way along the peninsula within an hour.
- The causeway is absolutely covered in mussels, and by covered I mean crunch crunch. Hope you don't mind squishing a few sea creatures.
- Mussels, pools, and brown patches that are actually mussels covered in barnacles.
- Rock pool.
- Limpets, with a rolled-up louse, and an unhealthy dose of barnacles.
- Worm's Head and the Devil's Door arch. On the right side of the point of Worm's Head is a large blowhole where water spurts far above the sea, apparently around 20 metres high, but not blowing today. There is also a cave hidden somewhere on the cliff in the same area.
- Deeply fractured rocks on the Low Neck separating the Inner Head from the point of Worm's Head. It's quite funny to watch people try to cross this part - many chose not to. A bit of caving balance will serve well.
- Small arch near the end, now far clear of even the highest tide.
- Looking from the end of Worm's Head towards Gower. The Devil's Door is on the left at the edge of the near ridge. Beyond the near ridge is the Inner Head. Behind that are the cliffs with Rhossili and Rhossili Bay on the left. On the right of the cliffs, where the causeway connects to the mainland, is the coastguard lookout point, and the way onto the causeway.
- Thrift on Worm's Head.
- Himalayas in miniature.
- An awesome shot by Becci of a paraglider passing overhead.
- And landing on Rhossili Bay.
- Evening sun over Worm's Head and Rhossili Bay.