Caswell Bay

Caswell possesses one of Gower's most popular family beaches and lies conveniently close to Swansea, with its own large pay and display car park at the entrance of Bishop's Wood Nature Reserve.

The sands of Caswell Bay stretch half a mile and are backed by cliffs and wooded valley. The bay has been a very popular resort for bathers since Victorian times, where many day trips were organised for underprivileged workhouse children as well as visits by the Vivian family.

Today's visitors are more likely to be surfers, anglers or young families.

Caswell

The name Caswell may come from Cresswell or cress stream from the Old English words 'cerse' (cress) and 'wella' (well) and probably relates to the stream that meanders down Caswell valley and out and along the beach to the sea. The stream travels underground for some distance, giving rise to curious bubbling pools along certain stretches of the bay.

Facilities

  • Toilets are situated at the car park entrance and boast an outdoor surf shower to rinse down wet suits and salty, sandy beach revellers.
  • A few beach kiosks sell refreshments and traditional seaside products near the steps that lead down to the sands.
  • A boathouse is set against the rocky cliffs with adjacent slipways. 
  • Bus access to the beach can involve some walking, as buses generally do not go down the steep road to the beach area, except during July and August.  The closest bus stop during the rest of the year is at Caswell Drive at the top of the hill towards Newton.

Natural features

At low tide, the eastern side of Caswell Bay is by far the more interesting aspect of the beach to explore - with a shallow cave and some of Gower's more spectacular geology to investigate. It is also along this stretch where starfish can sometimes be found in abundance amongst the many rockpools which form here. Casell was voted as one of 10 UK top rockpool hotspots by The Guardian in 2007.

Beadlet anemones and blennies lock heads with shore crabs, edible crabs and velvet fiddler crabs here. Best of all are the sea slugs that spurt purple ink as a defence mechanism, and even the odd octopus.

An eye should be kept on the incoming tide, however, as this part of the bay is cut off during certain tidal conditions.

Notable people

John Dillwyn Llewelyn

In 1846 the pioneering photographer from Penllergaer, John Dillwyn Llewelyn, bought the bottom end of Caswell Valley to build an Elizabethan-style mansion.  The house, which was named Caswell Cottage was frequently used as a summer residence by John Dillwyn Llewelyn and his wife Emma Thomasina Talbot.  Emma was first cousin to the lead pioneer photographer Henry Fox Talbot, who inspired Dillwyn Llewelyn’s love of photography.  Caswell Cottage was eventually demolished in the early 1960s to clear the site of the current Caswell car park.

Frances Ridley Havergal

Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879), a notable English poet and hymn-writer lived in nearby Newton, for a year before her death.

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