Gower Walking Festival - Moors and Manors

There have been oodles of walking festivals recently, and I've wanted to go on all of them - a walking holiday with the creature comforts of home at the end of the day? Yes please! Unfortunately I had to miss out on a lot of them (I need a walking buddy!), but the Gower Walking Festival was perfect, close enough to be an easy drive and, as I've mentioned previously, I love the landscape.

The first walk I signed up for was Moors and Manors (walk 6 on the itinerary), led by Stuart from Tread Gower and leaving from St John's Church in Penmaen. There's a free National Trust car park, which I was impressed by knowing how expensive the National Trust car park in Rhossili can be.
We set off over the ridge of Cefn Bryn, a fairly easy rise with stunning views of Three Cliffs Bay (above), and Oxwich (top).
From there we dropped down into the welcome shade of Mill Wood, and had a look at the old abandoned mill. Whenever I come across old overgrown ruins like this I always start thinking about the clickers from The Last of Us, and have a furtive glance around, ears peaked.
The next leg took us up a fairly steep hill to St Andrew's, a lovely 13th century church, where there is a 'murder stone' dedicated to an unsolved murder from 1829. We all had a hunt, but despite the aid of Google we didn't manage to spot it, somewhere in the the undergrowth perhaps. We had a break here to laze in the sun and have a bit of grub. 
Feeling refreshed the next stop was to the 'manor' section of the walk, taking us through the estate at Penrice and past the imposing manor house that was built in the 1770s. Beyond the house there are beautiful manicured gardens and a lake, but unfortunately there is no public access so we could only gaze from afar. There is a lovely old red brick stable half hidden in the woods as you follow the path, and the highlight is the ruins of the 13th century Penrice castle, some the ruins being directly opposite the manor, and others being at the gate on the way out of the estate. 
The route back took us through Crawley Woods, which offered tantalising glimpses of Nicholston Burrows. Then across a few fields, skirting the edge of Cefn Bryn and back to the carpark.
Overall a lovely walk with a knowledgeable walk leader and gorgeous views. It totalled at just over eight miles, more than the seven advertised, but I'm perfectly happy with that. Onto the next walk! 

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