Whiteford Lighthouse Walk
Whiteford Sands and Whiteford Point Lighthouse is located on the north-western tip of Gower. This is a vast two mile expanse of beach leading out along the edge of the Loughor Estuary. This walk is varied and includes the sand dunes of Whiteford Burrows, that are backed by pine trees. This area is a nature reserve owned by the National Trust.
The decommissioned cast iron lighthouse found at the furthest northern tip of the beach is believed to be the last remaining cast iron lighthouse found in British Isles. The Llanelli Harbour and Burry Navigation Commissioners constructed the lighthouse in 1865 to mark the south side of the channel to the port of Llanelli; it replaced an earlier wooden structure of 1854. The lighthouse remained in use until 1933; more recently the Nature Conservancy Council took up the lease from the Llanelli Harbour Trust.
The name Whiteford is considered to derive from the Danish ‘Hvit-Fford’. The northern boundary runs along the limit of the sand and shingle bank upon which a lighthouse is situated. There have been some prehistoric nds; these mostly comprise of animal remains and there is evidence from the medieval period in the form of a sh weir found on Whiteford Sands; however, it is likely that people exploited this resource from a much earlier period.
Fishing in the area has continued until the present day, you may well come across fishing boats during your walk. Across the estuary is Burry Port and Llanelli harbours.
Llanmadoc is approximately 30 minutes by car from Swansea. You can park up just below The Britannia Inn in Llanmadoc. Leave your vehicle and walk up the hill and past the pub. Continue past the junction for approximately 40 metres until you reach the ‘SLOW’ (ARAF) road markings.pull-in area.
Follow the access road through a small group of cottages. On a stone wall you will see a walk sign directing you to the right. A short distance along you will arrive at a gate. This is the beginning of the trail. The track descends to another gate - pass through and follow this main track. Please follow the country code and close all gates after you pass through. There are horses, cows and sheep that graze in the immediate area. Look out for further information signs along the route. After 400 metres, there is a raised path to your right. this runs above the marshland area and you will need to follow this. At the end of this path you will arrive at a wooden stile. The circular walk begins here so you can go right or left. This illustrated route goes left (clockwise) heading immediately towards the pine forest.
.Distance: 10 km Approximate time: 3hrs
Nearest Pub/Restaurant:The Britannia Inn, Llanmadoc
Car Parking: Side of road near Britannia Inn.
Recommendations: Plenty of fluids needed. Take a camera.
Heading towards the pine trees you you will pass through a small wooden gate. Approximately 200 metres ahead you will arrive at another gate. Ahead there there is a main path rising to the right. You can take this but alternatively, you can take the path to the immediate right of the gate.
This path is narrow but will lead directly to the burrows through the trees. The path leads directly to the beach. Perhaps this is the time to remind you that there are potential hazards.
Once you reach the sands beyond the burrows, the lighthouse should be clearly visible. Head to the point and if the tide is low you can get close. The Lighthouse is very old and is deteriorating – do not stand underneath it. There is soft sand nearby that can be tricky to navigate through.
Time to concentrate - The return journey requires you to walk around the point. There are trees backing onto the beach. Head towards the furthest edge (near the ‘s’ in Burrows on the map) The start of the path is not obvious. Once in the trees the path is well defined. The terrain varies and the path twists through the pines until you reach the edge of the salt marsh. The open track will lead you back to the stile that was starting point of the circular walk. Retrace your steps back over the marshland and onward to The Britannia Inn.