Staying in Gower
The peninsula of Gower was the first area in Britain to be designated as an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’, an accolade jealously guarded since its award in 1957. The peninsula is located immediately to the West of Swansea and is approximately 14 miles in length and 7 miles in width.
The coastline of the peninsula contains over 70 registered beaches, bays and coves ranging from the five mile sweep of Rhossilli Bay to the secluded cove of Mewslade in the South, or the tidal flats of Penclawdd rich in cockles and fish in the North.
Within the heart of the peninsula are 4 golf courses and over 100 miles of footpaths traversing the open moors, grazed common land, cliff tops, salt marshes and dune banks. There are over 35 family farms yielding some of the finest fresh produce in the country and supplying local supermarkets, restaurants and fresh markets.
The city centre of Swansea is within 20 minutes and provides an interesting range of museums and art galleries, which reflect Swansea’s prominence as the worldwide centre for copper production and fine porcelain in the 19th century. There is also an attractive marina, the Waterfront Museum, Wales National Pool, ten pin bowling and many other attractions. For an evening out visit the vibrant restaurant and bar quarter in Wind Street.
Burry Court with the ‘Longhouse’ and ‘Cottage’ holiday cottages is located on the green of the quiet hamlet of Burry Green nestling between the open common lands of Cefn Bryn and Hardings Down. To the West (two miles) is the village of Llangennith and the expanse of Rhossilli Bay and Broughton Bay, both renowned as among the best surfing and body boarding beaches in Britain. To the North (one mile) is the little visited coast line of North Gower with its salt marshes and low lying countryside. To the South (4 to 5 miles are the coves and beaches of South Gower, a coastline that equals Cornwall in landscape but without the summer crowds.
For those ‘quiet days’ you are welcome to relax in your cottage and to enjoy the three acres of mature gardens that surround it. Or to explore the numerous footpaths that pass through the village of Burry Green and that will take you on the the thousands of acres of moor land which make up the adjacent Cefn Bryn, Ryer’s Down and Hardings Down common lands.
For ‘eating out’ there are several excellent local hostelries within a few minutes drive including The King Arthur Hotel in Reynoldston (restaurant and bar meals), The Greyhound in Old Walls, The Kings Head in Llangennith and The Britannia in Llanmadoc. All offer quality meals featuring local produce. If a pub is not your choice try Eddy’s Restaurant in Hill End Caravan Site, Llangennith or the restaurant at the Holiday Park between Llanrhidian and Penclawdd. Also for a Sunday carvery meal try The North Gower Hotel in Llanrhidian. For that special night out or lunch try The Welcome To Town, a small Michelin award winning restaurant in Llanrhidian and for that very special event, the highly acclaimed Fairy Hill Hotel is our close neighbour in Burry Green, rub shoulders here with stars of stage and screen while you enjoy the best in food and wine that can be found anywhere in Britain.
The ‘Longhouse’ takes its name from the form of the 15th century farm buildings which were located in Gower and of which there are only a few surviving examples, one of which is now a prime feature in the Museum of Welsh Life in Cardiff. On the ground floor of ‘The Longhouse’ there was a barn for cattle and other animals, together with living accommodation at the West end for the farmer and an additional ‘room’ which is thought to have been a dairy. The ‘living’ space was a single room with a ‘cockloft’ or sleeping platform above (now the double bedroom in the holiday cottage. On the ground level, between the living room and the (possible) dairy is a massive 6 foot deep inglenook fireplace and bread oven. Above the cattle area would have been a hayloft, now the living and kitchen area of the holiday cottage.
The ‘Cottage’ is believed to have been built shortly after the ‘Longhouse’ to accommodate working farm horses, it originally opened onto the road, where there is now a window in the lounge area. The stepped wall still evident on the outer corner of ‘The Cottage’ would have been used as a mounting point to horses.
The main house is thought to have been added in the 18th century as the principal farm house, when ‘The Longhouse’ would have reverted solely to use as a barn. The original walls of the early farm house are incorporated in the present house. It must have been a substantial building as in 1851 it was recorded as accommodating a family of father, mother and five ‘children’ ranging from 34 to 11 years old. Census records also indicate that Burry Court and the two holiday cottages were originally Burry Green Farm which comprised over 200 acres of prime farmland on the lower slopes of Ryer’s Down, a substantial farm for the 19th century.
At that time the village of Burry Green consisted of two substantial farms, Burry Green Farm and Tile House Farm (on the opposite side of the green) and four, probably ‘tied,’ cottages. The green and its two ponds are recorded as providing a valuable watering point for haulage horses as they passed between the working port of Penclawdd and the villages to the South and West of Gower.
For information on where to eat in Gower and Swansea visit www.food-passion.co.uk