Last updated on September 24, 2020
As one of the most remote and difficult beaches to get to on the Gower peninsula in south Wales, Pwlldu Bay is the place to escape to for ‘Famous Five’ style fun and frolics.
No toilets, no tacky cafes, no teeming crowds.
In all honesty, I’m a little nervous to share this post. Pwlldu beach is one of those Gower beaches that us locals would rather keep to ourselves.
Dog-friendly tip: Dogs are allowed at Pwlldu beach all year-round. Just remember to take some water and a bowl for them as it’s a bit of a trek to get to even on four legs.
As I write this there are hordes of post-lockdown staycationers flocking to the Gower peninsula and sadly our beaches are not being treated with quite as much respect as we’d like – what are people thinking leaving so much plastic/litter around? – and “secret beaches” like this are becoming increasingly rare.
But I figured that you, my dear Driftwood Journals readers, are not the sort of reprobates that would partake in this sort of degenerative behaviour, so here I am writing, and here you are discovering one of the best secret beaches in the Gower – if not Wales.
About Pwlldu Bay (South Gower, Wales, UK)
Pwlldu is Welsh for “Black Pool” and is home to thriving wildlife, ancient woods, historic limestone quarries and silver lead mines.
Like many of the craggy coves along the Gower peninsula’s coast, it also boasts a history of smuggling. No prizes for guessing what sort of contraband they used to hide at Brandy Cove, the next beach along.
The beach itself is a peculiar pebbled affair, with a thin strip of butterscotch sand that appears as the tide recedes.
Importantly, the beach is only accessible on foot and has no convenient car park or facilities. There are no toilets, no cafes, no tacky gift shops.
And this is a very good thing as it means you can avoid the manic crowds that flock to the neighbouring beaches, which are easier to get to.
Sheltered by the ‘Needles’ rock formation, Pwlldu beach is known for its calm waters, making it popular among swimmers and kayakers.
That said, Pwll Du also has a history of shipwrecks and I should imagine many a looting has been enjoyed here (looting was seen as a right of passage for local Gower folk).
Tip: Most visitors arrive at Pwlldu beach and go no further. However, I would highly recommend continuing a little further along the Wales Coast Path to Pwlldu Head, which is apparently the highest headland on the Gower peninsula (which I’m not sure I quite believe). It offers impressive views over Pennard Cliffs and Mumbles is a fantastic place to get away from it all.
My Memories of Pwlldu
I have been to Pwlldu Bay countless times, but this particular visit was the first time I had ever arrived by foot, or even by land for that matter.
When I was a kid, my dad and I would sail across the bay from Swansea marina, anchor up and zip ashore in the dingy.
We’d play catch with pebbles that would inevitably end up cracking me on the head, and char some sausages over an open fire.
We’d stick them in a bun and coat them in ketchup, but nothing could ever mask the crunch and grind that hijacked my mouth. Like the sun, sand and salt always finds its way in.
Pwlldu is still one of my favourite beaches in the Gower, and still something of an adventure to get to.
Whether you live here like me or just visiting for a holiday on the Gower peninsula, you should definitely set a side a day to walk to Pwll Du Bay.
Make it Happen
How to Get to Pwlldu Beach (and Where to Park)
The easiest and quickest way to get to Pwlldu Bay is to drive to Bishopston and park somewhere in the residential streets around the Post Office.
From here you can walk down Pwlldu Lane (for about 20-25 minutes) to the beach.
The Scenic Route to Pwlldu via Brandy Cove
I personally love walking down Brandy Cove Road to Brandy Cove and then following the Wales Coast Path (as shown below) – this takes around 30 minutes.
Alternatively, you could park at Caswell Bay (or even Langland Bay) and follow the Wales Coast Path from there. Obviously you’ll have to pay for parking doing it this way but it’s not too unreasonable.
Just don’t forget to pack a picnic and plenty of water! Oh, and remember to take your rubbish home with you.
Where to Stay Near Pwlldu Beach
Ship Cottage (Holiday Let): Located right on the beach, this historic cottage is available for holiday lets! I can’t think of a better place to spend a summer holiday in the Gower! It’s got three bedrooms and sleeps 8 people. Check availability and book here.
The New Gower Hotel: Within walking distance of Pwlldu (and many other Gower beaches), this gorgeous boutique hotel would make an ideal base. Check availability and book here.
Patrick’s with Rooms: A great option for foodies and luxury lovers. Located in the heart of Mumbles, Patrick’s is something of a local institution. Check availability and book here.
Langland Road B&B: If you want to stay in Mumbles and but don’t want to spend a fortune then this is a great option – and still within walking distance of Pwlldu beach. Prices are very reasonable too. Check availability and book here.
What are your favourite beach on the Gower peninsula in south Wales, UK?