From the beach at Oxwich, the contours of Cefn Bryn are lost in early morning mist. There are few holidaymakers about at this time of morning, and just a couple of dog walkers far away at Nicholaston Pill spoil the view of the pristine beach. The only sound is from the gentle lapping of waves and a skylark above the dunes. I’m virtually alone again in this magical place.
I need to look carefully beyond the pill for the famous cliffs at Three Cliffs Bay. The Bay is used in many tourism brochures for Wales and Gower, with photographs usually taken from the main road, from high up on the bryn, or if you are prepared to get your feet wet, from the sea. I can hardly make out the cliffs in the mist, but even on a clear day, the celebrated view looks insignificant from this angle.
It takes about fifteen minutes to reach the pill. A few non-breeding gulls loaf about in the brackish water fanning out over the sand, and the usual pied wagtails dart about catching flies on the sand; otherwise little else moves.
It’s not yet 6am, but out to sea, boats, probably from the marina in Swansea, head west for a days sailing. Some may anchor at the western end of Oxwich Bay and spend the day here, others will venture further afield to Port Eynon and beyond. But it’s too early in the day for the sea bikes to be about. These raucous machines have become popular in recent years, causing noise pollution and disturbance in what should be a peaceful place.
Just a few yards from the pill and I’m in the sand dunes; waking up after a clear still night they’re utterly peaceful. The sweet early morning dew is intoxicating, soaking my boots as I walk gingerly along the path trying not to step on the myriad of delicate grasses. Some bumblebees are out early, and the warming rays of the sun allow a common blue butterfly to take to the wing. It’s best to just sit, look out over the old salt marsh and Nicholaton Wood beyond, and watch the world wake up.