In winter, there’s often a hard frost in the valley at Parkmill. Sheltered on all sides by high trees, and with little sun reaching the ground, the fields can sometimes stay white all day. The stream running down to the beach at Three Cliffs Bay trickles gently over the ford, but the footbridge is covered with hoarfrost; I tread carefully. Ahead the footpath leads to Green Cwm, but at the turning I walk straight on.
Unless staying for bed and breakfast, or wanting to go horse riding, Parc-Le-Breos is one of those places that would probably pass you by. Off the beaten track and hidden in a great horseshoe of woodland, it’s a very private world. There are no footprints on the frosty path; I’m the first to venture in or out. The house, once a Victorian hunting lodge and also used by Polish airmen during World War II, is set in what was originally a Norman deer park. With an unusually long frontage is seems out of place in this tranquil valley. It’s early morning and there’s little sign of life; a pair of ravens, probably from the nearby cliffs, call overhead and robins sing from the woodland edge. The sound of horses breaks the silence and the first of the day’s horse-riding customers are off, maybe heading to the beach for a gallop.
The riders pass, and quite returns; not wanting to trespass I return to Green Cwm. Sound echoes in this deep valley, but everything is still; I can hear a pin drop. The well-preserved Neolithic burial chamber on the valley floor is painted white with frost; it looks unfamiliar, but the sun will reach here later in the morning.
There’s a cottage at the fork in the path leading to the main road to the north. Unoccupied for many years, it’s been renovated and seems to have all mod cons. Living in such a remote spot must have drawbacks, but on mornings like this must be wonderful. Gower can often be at it’s best on cold winter days.