When the sun is shining and the weather is sweet, there’s only one place you want to be – outside! We all know about the beautiful beaches of Devon and Cornwall but what about the un-touched beaches of Wales? Here we have a look at what’s available for the wild at heart in Wales.
Seals and Surfing at Rhossili Beach, South Wales
I grew up in South Wales and would spend most of my summers running wild on Rhossili beach. It’s a 3 mile stretch of golden sands situated on the north west of the Gower Peninsula, which was one of the very first places in the UK to be designated as an “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty”. For this reason it has been protected from over-development and doesn’t have that tacky British-Seaside-Resort feel to it.
The dramatic cliffs hug the beach and provide an easy walk for those who want to enjoy the views and take some quality photographs. The green pastures are home to hundreds of Welsh sheep and if you walk all the way out to the headland, “Worms head”, you may be lucky enough to see the seal colony that lives there!
Rhossili faces west and offers some of the UK’s best surf. The summer months tend to be better for beginners as, not only is the water warmer, but the waves are smaller and less intimidating. If you want to give it a shot, head to Sam’s Surf Shack in the village (near the main car park) where you can rent boards and arrange lessons. For the more experienced surfer, walk up the beach to Llangennith where the surf gets bigger. You’ll also find a small, but perfectly formed selection of places to eat and drink. My favourite was always The Bay Bistro, which has a breathtaking view across the beach and offers a beautiful home cooked menu and outstanding coffee.
Wales is a cyclist’s dream. You can take a long and challenging ride through the winding roads of the Brecon Beacons or take it easy on the coast cycle track from Swansea marina to the picturesque village of Mumbles (make sure to allow for plenty of ice-cream stops!) But for the more wild-at-heart, I would suggest getting off-road at Afan Forest. It’s 14 miles of rugged cycle routes, some easier than others, but all equally fantastic and enjoyable. Afan can get busy at times, partly due to its never ending list of accolades including “Top 10 Place to Ride” by What Mountain Bike magazine.
“The 9,000 acres of Afan Forest (Afan Argoed) is a paradise for mountain bikers – recently described as one of the 10 best places to ride before you die” The Guardian
So pack your helmet, make sure your tyres are fully pumped and head to Afan Forest!
Although golf can be a little less exerting than surfing and mountain biking, it can still get pretty exciting when you play at Langland Bay, especially if you bump into Catherine Zeta-Jones and husband Michael Douglas who play at the course when they’re in town. Ideally located on Gower’s south coast, Langland is easily one of the UK’s most elegant beaches. It’s a small cove surrounded by iconic green beach huts and shops selling all kinds of beach paraphernalia, all of which can be viewed will you tee off at Langland golf course.
So if you are feeling a little battered a bruised after your surfing and/or mountain biking, why not rent an electric golf trolley to carry your clubs, top up your hip flask and hit Langland golf course. If you have time (and enough energy) after your round of leisurely golf, I suggest walking down to the Langland Brasserie where you can enjoy a cold beer and watch the sun go down over the bay. It really is idyllic.