Rhossili Beach Walk 22nd August 2012

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What links the following photographs is my feet! The images are in chronological order and describe some of the many delights and interesting features of a walk along Rhossili Beach in Gower – from flotsam, flowers, and fishermen, to sand patterns, sea ripples, surfers, and seashore creatures.

Starting with a pot of tea in Eddy’s at the Hillend Caravan and Camping Site, and cutting down through the dunes to the beach, I turned right and walked northwards towards Spaniard Rocks and the island of Burry Holms with the dune system of Llangennith Burrows on my right.

My first impression once I hit the seashore, was, as always, how vast, open, and expansive the beach is. Space. Space. Space. The enveloping sound of the waves. The feel of the wind on my face.

The tide was going out. More than usual, coloured pebbles were scattered on the wet sand across the upper shore. The sand gets pushed around the beach on a regular basis and the number of pebbles that are visible varies with the type of tide and the weather. Flotsam frequently accumulates on the strand-line at the high tide mark – and this day was no exception. Shoes, body-boards, fishing nets, plastic toys, plastic sheeting, along with barnacle encrusted driftwood and the remains of dead birds.

On Spaniard Rocks the lichens and wild flowers were colourful. The outgoing tide revealed a new and temporary topography of water-filled dips and mounds, while shallow water rippled in ever changing patterns. The freshly exposed rocks of Burry Holms were covered in seashore creatures competing for anchorage in cracks and crevices of vertical limestone faces. Edible mussels smothered low-lying boulders with a glistening variegated carpet. Limpets clinging to the cliffs were heavy with attached barnacles and mussels.

I spotted an angler in the distance, balanced precariously on the wave-pounded rocks at the back of the island, at the very moment that he landed a big fish – a shot I didn’t want to miss (though the resulting pictures from the zoom are poor quality, I am afraid). Along the water’s edge, birds gathered and paddled as if they were watching the live show of wind-surfers and kite-surfers as well as looking out for emerging shell-fish to eat – reminding me it was time to get back up to Eddy’s for something to eat myself before last orders.


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