Pennard and Graves End
Lower Sea Cliffs 2½ hours either side of low water. All other crags are non-tidal
High Pennard is the sweep of white rocks that dominate the far east skyline on the eastern Gower, opposite Oxwich Bay to the west.
In contrast to most other areas on Gower the easier routes are quite steep, but with reassuringly large holds. The aspect is quite good (south to south-west facing), but the crags are exposed and can catch the wind. Before embarking on the extreme routes, consideration should be given to replacing the ancient thread runners.
For the uninitiated Pennard forms an armchair-like amphitheate above sea level. To the west, Pennard Buttress has a tall seaward facing wall which when followed rightwards (east) splits into two tiers separated by a grassy sloping terrace. High Pennard lies on the eastern side of the amphitheatre and recieves sunshine from mid-day.
In the centre of the amphitheatre is a scree slope, thickly covered by virtually every species of thorny plant native to the British Isles. A path of sorts traverses the scree slope close to the seaward edge and links Pennard Buttress to High Pennard. With an hour or so of dedicated clearance this path could be restored and passable, but at present it is much more comfortable to walk up and cross between the crags via the cliff top path.
Just east of Pennard and separated by only a narrow grassy gully is Graves End, which forms a seaward facing buttress with a good sized level terrace at its foot.
Follow the offshoot of the B4436 to its end at the roundabout in Southgate. Park in the National Trust car park. Follow the narrow road east for about 1 mile to a valley running to the sea from Hunts Farm (GR564873) just before the road becomes a private road – there is a prominent wide shallow valley running down to the sea at this point. There are two possible approaches from here:
- Pennard Buttress and High Pennard - The first follows a path down the valley to the coastal footpath and heads east (left) along to the base of the cliffs.
- Pennard Buttress and High Pennard - A better, but not so obvious, approach is to follow the cliff top path past two huts on the left. Just past these a prominent rocky headland is seen (there is a small pond on the left - sometimes dry in summer). Go just past this headland and descend towards the sea. High Pennard is to your left (east) and Pennard Buttress is to your right (west).
Pennard Lower Sea Cliffs – as for Pennard Buttress and The Great Tower, then continue 100m further east along the coastal path, after passing in front of the great detached Tower to a smaller buttress, blocking off the profile of the coastline (Popty Ping). Under this is a smooth waterworn gully. Descend this to find the sea cliffs on the west (right when facing out to sea). A quicker approach is to gain Graves End Wall from the cliff top and drop down to Popty Ping area from the East.
Graves End Wall – as for Pennard Buttress and The Great Tower, but just east of The Great Tower scramble up a gully to the west end of the higher buttress. Graves End East is the natural extension to the east of Graves End Wall itself. Once familiar with the area, a better approach is by walking along the cliff top above High Pennard. Graves End Wall Sea Cliff is a very small buttress at sea level about 150m east of the end of Graves End East, reached by scrambling down from the path at the end of the turf.
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