Gower was the first area of the United Kingdom to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the peninsula is a wonderful place for walking. Summer 2022 will see the launch of the 50-mile long Gower Pilgrimage Way, linking all 17 historic churches in Gower, and including several chapels and other Christian sacred sites along the way. It will run from Penclawdd in the north-east, around the peninsula, finishing at St Teilo’s in Bishopston in the south-east.
This walking route will be along public rights of way, including sections of the Wales Coast Path, and will be split into 5 sections of around 10 miles, making for an excellent week of walking.
The 5 sections are:
- Penclawdd to Llanrhidian, including Llanyrnewydd and Wernffrwd
- Llanrhidian to Llangennith, including Cheriton, Llanmadoc and Burry Holms island (tide allowing)
- Llangennith to Port Eynon, including Llanddewi and Rhossili
- Port Eynon to Penmaen, including Oxwich, Penrice, Nicholaston and Reynoldston
- Penmaen to Bishopston, including Ilston Church, Ilston Baptist Chapel and Pennard Church.
Maps and directions, together with historical information, will be available on the Gower Ministry Area website, and also on printed leaflets.
New interpretation boards will be installed outside the churches, to provide historical information to visitors. These will have QR Codes, which will link off to the website for more detailed information.
Walkers will be able to have their ‘pilgrim passports’ stamped at each church, to mark their visit, just as on the famous Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
There will also be a cycle route, although this will be along roads (minor roads where possible) and other off-road tracks where cycling is allowed.
During the week of 11-16 September 2022, to coincide with Cadw’s Open Doors month, we will be celebrating the launch of the Gower Pilgrimage Way with a special Pilgrimage Festival week. This will include a guided walk along a section of the Way during the day, with the churches open to visitors along the route, offering refreshments, information and activities. Each day will end with an evening service or celebration at the church reached at the end of that day’s walk. These evenings will share a pilgrimage-related theme, e.g. a Celtic-style worship service or an illustrated talk on pilgrimage through the ages, and the Festival will end with a bilingual Cymanfa Ganu at St Teilo’s, Bishopston, on the evening of Friday 16 September, which Alun Tregelles Williams has kindly agreed to conduct.
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