It’s good to get out on dull, damp days. Even though the temperature is still in the mid-teens, the woods at the back of our cottage feel cold. I meet nobody on the path down to Caswell Bay, which in mid-week, and with light rain beginning to blow in from the west, is deserted. I head east along the cliff path towards Whiteshell Point. The tide is out, there’s not a soul about, and I look for telltale footprints on the golden sand, and there are none.
The cliffs are fast turning brown, and only clumps of heather and gorse add colour at this time of year. Periodic burning is good for the gorse, and the leggy bushes here could do with another burn. Locals often complain when this happens, but without regular controlled burning, the gorse would take over, and much of the rich wildlife would disappear.
The climb up the now not-so-newly paved path to the Whiteshell Point is steep. I’m passed by a fit, young jogger seemingly not feeling the incline. From the top, I look west across Caswell Bay. Pwll Du Head is hidden in coastal fog, and I can only see a few hundred yards out to see. On clear days, I come here to look for porpoises and seals, but today I can just make out a flock of turnstones on the rocks below. They’re all in winter plumage now, and I wouldn’t have found them without hearing their distinctive staccato, rattling calls.
East towards Mumbles Head, the path is bordered in places by white concrete posts and metal rails, creating a real blight on the otherwise natural landscape; why didn’t they paint them green? Gower after all, was the first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to be designated in the UK.