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Rhosilli village from the air.jpg
Rhossili is located in Swansea
Location within Swansea
  • Rhossili
Principal area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townSwansea
Postcode districtSA3
PoliceSouth Wales
FireMid and West Wales
UK Parliament
Senedd Cymru – Welsh Parliament
List of places
51°34′07″N 4°17′13″W / 51.56856°N 4.28690°W / 51.56856; -4.28690Coordinates: 51°34′07″N 4°17′13″W / 51.56856°N 4.28690°W / 51.56856; -4.28690

Rhossili (Welsh: Rhosili; Welsh pronunciation) is both a small village and a community on the southwestern tip of the Gower Peninsula[1] in Wales. It is within the first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the United Kingdom. The village has a community council and is part of the Gower parliamentary constituency, and the Gower electoral ward. At the 2011 census, the population was 278. The community includes the hamlet of Pitton.

The name derives from the Welsh word rhos meaning a moor and the personal name Sulein hence 'Sulein's moorland promontory'.[2] Rhossili is a popular tourist destination: the views from the headland and the Down are panoramic; several pleasant walks begin, end, or pass through the village; Iron Age remains are found on Rhossili Down. The 2.8-mile (4.5 km) wide sandy beach is backed with sand dunes and attracts surfers at the Llangennith end as well as along the entire stretch of beach.


The present Norman church is dedicated to St Mary the Virgin. Inside there is a memorial to Edgar Evans, who was the first to perish on the Terra Nova Expedition with Captain Scott on the return from the South Pole.

Rhossili Bay[edit]

Rhossili Bay curves along an arc running northwards from the village. The 2.8-mile (4.5 km) wide sandy beach is backed with sand dunes. Some locals refer to the beach as Llangennith Sands. Behind the beach just north of the village is Rhossili Down with the highest point on the Gower Peninsula, the Beacon (193 metres), and a number of prehistoric remains. It is between Rhossili Down and the beach that the Warren is found. In some of the fields on "The Vile" in Rhossili, the National Trust plant every year around 400,000 sunflowers. This is an extremely popular attraction for visitors to take selfies at during late July and early August, however there have been issues with some visitors picking the flowers.[3][4]

At the southern end of the Bay is Worm's Head, consisting of two tidal islands: Outer Head 184 feet (56 m) and Inner Head 154 feet (47 m). At the north is Burry Holms. These islands are accessible only at low tide.

Rhossili Bay featured in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, a youth choir began a cappella performances of "Bread of Heaven" live on the beach which was broadcast at the Olympic Stadium.[5] The bay has been used as the setting of New Earth in the sci-fi show Doctor Who and the bay including the Old Rectory was used in Torchwood: Miracle Day. In 2014, it was voted the UK's number one beach, third best in Europe, and 9th best in the world, by TripAdvisor users.[6][7]

Fall Bay[edit]

Fall Bay is one of the most remote and hardest to reach beaches on Gower. The beach is never crowded due to its remoteness. There is no beach visible at high tide. The beach is very popular with surfers. At very low tide, it is possible to walk over from the beach to Mewslade Bay. The beach is reachable via a path which passes Rhossili village hall. It continues over fields and many stiles and has a steep final descent. The cliff path leads east to Mewslade Bay[8] or westwards towards the Worm's Head and Rhossili Bay.[citation needed]


Notable residents[edit]

  • Edgar Evans,[9] Antarctic explorer (a memorial tablet can be seen in the parish church)[10]

National Trust[edit]

The National Trust owns and protects much land on the Gower Peninsula. The Trust operates a visitor centre in Rhossili near the Warren, Rhossili Down, Worm's Head, Rhossili beach and coastal cliffs. Scenes from Torchwood: Miracle Day were filmed at the National Trust's Old Rectory cottage in Rhossili Bay.[11][12][13]

Skinny dipping[edit]

On 19 June 2011, almost four hundred people attempted to break the world record for the largest number of people skinny dipping at one time in the sea at Rhossili.[14]

Further reading[edit]

  • Musings of a Middleton Boy, An Autobiography of One Youngster's Life in Post-World War II Rural Wales, Growing Up on the Gower Coast by Cyril Jones, 2007 (ISBN 9780595466580)(ISBN 9780595705153)
  • A Gower Family, The Lucases of Stouthall and Rhossili Rectory, by Robert Lucas, 2005 (ISBN 1873295715)
  • Rhossili, A Village Background", by Robert Lucas, 2004 (ISBN 0905928938)
  • Rhossili: The Land, Landscape and People, by Leonard Beynon, 2008 (ISBN 9780955170324)
  • Edgar Evans of Gower (1876-1912), From Rhossili to the South Pole, by Gary Gregor, 2008 (ISBN 9780902767430)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ A Guide to Gower, published by the Gower Society, ISBN 0-902767-23-2
  2. ^ Owen, Hywel Wyn; Morgan, Richard (2007). Dictionary of the Place-names of Wales (First ed.). Llandysul, Ceredigion: Gomer. p. 415. ISBN 9781843239017.
  3. ^ Williams, Nino (29 July 2019). "The sunflowers are back at Rhossili and they are looking stunning". walesonline. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  4. ^ "Call for people to stop picking beauty spot flowers". 4 August 2019. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  5. ^ "London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony live". National Post. 27 July 2012. Archived from the original on 9 December 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  6. ^ "Wales beats Hawaii and Caribbean in beach poll". Travelmole.com. 18 March 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  7. ^ "BBC News - Rhossili Bay, Gower, third best in Europe says TripAdvisor survey". Bbc.co.uk. 18 March 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2014.
  8. ^ "Rhossili to Mewslade Bay". Wales Coast Path. Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  9. ^ Evans Collection
  10. ^ Rhossili Parish Church and the old Church in the Warren by Robert Lucas, published by Rhossili Parochial Church Council, 2000.
  11. ^ Foster, Chuck. "Torchwood: News Roundup". The Doctor Who News Page. Retrieved 27 January 2011.
  12. ^ Wright, Ben. "Swansea-born Torchwood writer 'can't wait' to show off hometown in new BBC series". This Is South Wales. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
  13. ^ Foster, Chuck. "Torchwood: Week Three Filming". The Doctor Who News Page. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
  14. ^ "Rhossili midsummer skinny dip organisers claim record". BBC News. 19 June 2011.

External links[edit]

Media related to Rhossili at Wikimedia Commons