Port Eynon Bay
Port Eynon (Welsh - Porth Einon) is the southern most point of The Gower Peninsula and is thought to be named after the tenth century Welsh Prince, Einon ap Owain.
Port Eynon is one of Gower's most tourist orientated beaches with the largest collection of seaside shops on the peninsula. Here you can find fashionable beach and surf wear shops mingling with the traditional 'bucket and spade' variety, icecream portals and fish 'n' chips takeways.
The surrounding gently sloping hillsides overlooking the beach are highly populated in the summer with holiday makers who are able to camp their tents, rent static caravans or bungalows on sites available.
Port Eynon also has a youth hostel. Run by the Youth Hostel Association (YHA), the hostel provides cheap accommodation to travellers (both young and old) and is ideally located on the beach front.
The hostel building used to be the lifeboat station for Port Eynon's Lifeboat. Port Eynon and the rest of the Gower coast was notorious for claiming many ships on its treacherous rocks and sandbanks. The lifeboat station was established in 1884, after the locals of the village, despite numerous rescue attempts, had to watch helplessly as a steamship called the 'Agnes Jack' was driven onto the rocks and all its men were drowned. The lifeboat station serviced the South Gower coast for many years until a terrible tragedy happened in 1916. During a rescue attempt in a winter gale at Oxwich, the lifeboat was capsized twice by hugh waves and three lifeboat crew members drowned. As a result of these events the RNLI decided that it was too dangerous for villagers to attempt rescues in such conditions and closed the lifeboat station.
A monument was erected in Port Eynon churchyard as a tribute to the crew members bravery on that fateful day, particularly the three lifeboat men who lost their lives so terribly. In more recent years, however, a lifeboat station was re-established at neighbouring village, Horton, to cater for the increase in holidaymakers who often find themselves in peril from the sea. During the summer, the lifeguards patrol the beach to assist in any emergencies.
Protecting the environment
With the impact of the busy holiday season the current focus is upon protecting the landscape and diversity of Port Eynon for future generations.
The dunes are a very important habitat for many types of plants and animals, including some very rare varieties. Walking over dunes can cause damage to the dune structure resulting in erosion and the breakdown of the habitat.
Port Eynon is currently the centre of a fierce controversy between the environmental activists and the sand dredging companies that lift thousands of tons of sand from the Bristol Channel each year. Suffering like no other beach on the peninsula, Port Eynon's once wide stretch of sandy bay has now receeded drastically behind newly revealed rocky outcrops that had hitherto not been exposed here since prehistoric times.
One part of the bay, that has always been rocky, is Sedges Bank, located on the far right of the bay, past the ancient Salthouse ruins. Protected by the Glamorgan Wildlife Trust, all 86 acres of the site have been a nature reserve since 1966. An important habitat for all seashore life, Sedges Bank is the only remnant of the sand bar that once enclosed a now extinct salt marsh at Port Eynon.
An interesting site from here are the two orange buoys that can be seen floating in the sea towards the centre of the bay. These mark the undersea remains of the pleasure cruiser "Prince Ivanhoe", that was wrecked here in 1981. All of its passengers were brought safely to land during the incident.