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rhossilibay2

Sculpted by the full might of the rough Atlantic Ocean, Rhossili Bay is the spectacle of the Gower Peninsula . The three mile arc of its flat, sandy beach is disturbed only by the scattered skeletons of ancient shipwrecks and, by night, the reputed ghost of a crazed horse-rider - desperately searching the beach for the washed up treasure from a sunken ship.

More ghosts are said to haunt the lonely-looking house situated at the foot of Rhossili Downs (Gower's highest point at 193 metres), nearly half way along the bay. This was the old Rhossili Rectory, but is now a National Trust property that is leased to holiday-makers (see the Gower Information Centre's 'Gower Ghosts - Supernatural Swansea' Information Pack to read more details on all of Rhossili's ghostly goings on).

rhossilibayWhilst the views over what is arguably Britain's most beautiful beach are indeed magnificent, care must always be taken when viewing the bay from Rhossili Cliffs as fatalities occur here on a yearly basis. The finest vantage point is right opposite the (rather pricey) car park anyway and this part of the cliffs are sensibly fenced so is the ideal spot for family's with young children to take in the fine views.

From here, the bare ribs of the 'Helvetia' - an oak barque wrecked here in 1887 - can be clearly seen. The 'Vennerne,' another shipwreck (wrecked here in 1894), whose metal carcass continues to survive on the beach, lies at the base of Rhossili Cliffs and can be easily reached along the sands at low tide.

Rhossili Bay is framed within the curiously named tidal islets of Worm's Head and Burry Holmes. Their titles originate from the Viking words "Wurme" meaning "Serpent" and "holmr" meaning "Island." These recall the time in 986 when the Viking Dragon ships pulled into Rhossili Bay and set in motion a trail of destruction and marauding leading to the slaughter of countless Llangennith villages and the annihilation of their priory. The Viking King, Sweyne Forkbeard is said to be buried atop Rhossili Downs, marked by the twin stone tombs known today as the Sweyne Howes.

Given the steep steps down to Rhossili Bay from the village, access to the beach is limited to those with the stamina to manage the quite daunting return trek up the side of the Downs to the full height of Rhossili Cliffs (where the village resides). For this reason, despite its enticing beauty, the beach is seldom overly packed and, during colder months, it is not unusual for visitors to have the beach entirely to themselves.

Rhossili has numerous shops, a National Trust Information Centre, cafes and a pub/restaurant. Many of the shops, however, are closed off season.