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Pennard Burrows

This is a sandy landscape, with a fascinating buried past.  The dramatic ruins of Pennard Castle stand on the top of a cliff overlooking the beautiful Three Cliffs Bay.  Built in the twelfth century, probably by the first Earl of Warwick, who was granted lordship of Gower, Pennard Castle was enlarged and fortified in stone in the late thirteenth or early fourteenth century.  The stone curtain wall around the edge of the castle, and twin-towered gateway facing east date from this time.  They were probably the work of the de Braos family, who held the castle (and the neighbouring deer park seen at Parkmill) for part of the thirteenth century.  Inland of the castle, to the east, is the site of the village of Pennard which was abandoned in the fourteenth century after becoming be-sanded (buried by sand) following a major storm.  The remains of the village church can still be seen as low walls and hollows in the sand dunes east of the castle.  After the be-sanding, a new village of Pennard was established approximately two miles inland to the east.

Today the area is used as a golf links.  It is designated an SSSI for its sand dune habitats and associated species, including Isle of Man Cabbage and various grasses.  As you walk around the castle, try and image what it would have been like here before it was covered by sand, and remember the village buried beneath your feet.

Pennard Burrows is unusual in that the sand dunes are high on the cliff top.  There are other sand dune systems behind beaches on the Gower, including nearby at Nicolaston Burrows and Oxwich Burrows, and on the west coast at Hillend, Llangennith and Whiteford.