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Penrice and Oxwich. A Gower “Road Trip”

My leg and ankle are recovering from my accident this spring and although I can walk a faster than I used to, I still cannot walk long distances which means that a lot of my favourite Gower walks are off limits to me. I find staying indoor too much isn’t good for my mental health (especially during the Pandemic) and it is vital to get out and see different places nearby. Fresh air is good for the soul, the mind and more importantly it blows away the virus!

This blog is about a very short road trip around parts of the Penrice estate down to Oxwich Bay we did this week.  My husband drove and I took the photographs. Penrice Castle was built by the Mansel Talbots. They were one of the most powerful families in South Wales and certainly one of its biggest resident landowners and MPs for Glamorgan in the Victorian era. The “new” Castle at Penrice was built by Thomas Mansel Talbot in the 1770s,  as an alternative residence to the rambling old house at Margam. Thomas, who had travelled to Euope and considered himself a man of great taste had a neo-classical villa built. He also had the land around the house landscaped and a park laid out  to improve the romantic scenery that had first attracted him to the place. His son, Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot, who was born at Penrice in 1803,  modernised the old Aberavon Port and renamed it (modestly) Port Talbot as an industrial hub for South Wales. The house at Margam was also pulled down and a new mansion was built there between 1827 and 1830 near the ruins of the old abbey.

I will the road trip start with a map. All road trips need a map. There is an excellent map of Gower at Mapsta here. Our trip starts at the top left hand side of the map where a lane turns a sharp left from the A4118 road down a narrow single track lane. A word of warning if you fancy this road trip. This is not a trip for a large vehicle. Most of the lanes are single track and are very narrow. We spent most of it praying that we did not meet any thing coming the other way, and we drive a tiny Kia, as it would have possibly meant a ggod deal of reversing! Thankfully we didn’t.

Penrice Loop #1
Penrice Loop #1


Home Farm Penrice
Home Farm Penrice (SOLD) 
Down long narrow lanes past a parking spot for a woodland walk  at Mountybank (see estate map)
Map of Penrie Estate
Map of the Penrice Estate
Up a steep and winding lane past Penrice Village
Painting of a Penrice Cottage by Emma Cownie
Penrice, Gower
Along wet and winding lanes past Pitt Farm
The road then bends and drops back down towards Oxwich Village
We past a series of sturdy cottages and then turn left at the junction in Oxwich

The carpark is free in the winter during the week (possibly only during pandemics)
This morning’s heavy rain has left puddles everywhere but there’s still a beautiful view across the bay to Great Tor and Three Cliffs

We saw people. There were not too many but enough to watch. There was even a small wedding party having their photos taken on the beach off in the distance. It was heartening to see people managing to commit to a future together come what may! It must have been next to impossible planning their day as we have had a national lockdown, a local lockdowns and a mini-firebreak and there are rumours of another lockdown after Christmas.

A wedding party off in the distance
Can you see them now? 

On the way back home, we continue anti-clockwise on our loop back up a steep hill to the main road past Underhill Cottage.  It was originally the Head Gamekeeper’s cottage. It has a lovely, sunny position overlooking the beautiful Oxwich Marsh and the sea with Nicholaston Woods behind. These days it is a holiday cottage.  It is possibly one of the few sorts of holidays you could be confident of not getting cancelled these days (if you live locally, that is).

Painting of cottage near Oxwich marshes by Emma Cownie
Underhill Cottage (Oxwich, Gower) SOLD

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Mansel family and Port Talbot

Penrice Castle

Penrice – castle 

Holiday Cottages on Penrice Estate. There are 16 holiday cottages on the estate

15 thoughts on “Penrice and Oxwich. A Gower “Road Trip”

  1. I wouldn’t want to be in charge of cleaning that dress after she swept that hem around the beach!

    1. Does anyone re-use or sell their wedding dress? I doubt anyone will have to clean it. It wasnt at all warm that day so she was a hardy bride going outside for photos. I had a padded coat and hat on!

  2. I love your painting of Underhill Cottage! I’ve often wondered what it would be like to live there – I didn’t realise it was a holiday home.
    I once got stuck in a traffic jam coming up that treacherously steep road from Oxwich because some American tourists had stopped their car and got out to take pictures of the view!

    1. Thank you Annabelle – I have always wanted to get out and walk along there but by the time I have realised that’s one parking spot just above the cottage, we’ve gone sailing past!

  3. Thanks for taking us along on your road trip. Such lovely scenery. And I like your thoughts on the couple being willing to make a commitment to each other in these uncertain times. I also enjoyed the greenery of the countryside. We are into snow season here and when it thaws nothing that is revealed from beneath it is very green anymore.

    1. We have had so much rain this autumn and winter that its all very green and soggy!

  4. What a lovely trip…thank you for taking me along! I remember driving along some one car lanes in Cornwall, not for faint-hearted, but such a novel experience.

    1. Yes, not for the faint-hearted but my husband enjoys a challenge!

  5. This painting reminds me how much I love shadows Emma! A great painting! I always shoot at sunset myself as you know. The shadows come out to play!
    Your still shots in town also remind me how the English are master stone masons! I love the hand made stone walls. All made with river stone and laid perfectly! I’ve always dreamed of having a stone house!

    1. I am usually a morning person but winter provides interesting shadows (when the sun comes out)!Stone certainly lasts!

      1. Yes,I find the shadows and colour of the light in Winter is more interesting!

  6. I really want to go some place where there are no people! I love the road photos, and it’s amazing how close to the road the houses are built. I assume there is not much snow in winter? Or are these roads closed by then? Love your painting too.

    1. There is very rarely snow in this area because we are so close to the sea. If there is snow it falls on the mountains to the north of us.

  7. Lovely & charming Emma! Happy & Healthy New Year to you.

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