History of The Woodman and the Gower Peninsula
The Woodman started life as The Brinney Inn around 1819, when the Duke of Beaufort leased land at Blackpill to build a school and an inn. Originally located on the seaward side of Mumbles Road, by the mid-1800’s it had become The Woodman, and was bought in 1880 by the owner of the Clyne Estate, William Graham Vivian. Just before the turn of the century, the seaward side pub was demolished and rebuilt in the present location
Once a highly industrialised area, Blackpill is now a quiet suburb half-way from Swansea to Mumbles on the Gower Peninsula, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, surrounded by the beautiful botanical landscape of Clyne Gardens, which is situated just behind The Woodman. These lovely gardens, home to many rare and exotic plants and trees including a spectacular rhododendron collection, were first created in 1860 by Glynn Vivian,owner of Clyne Castle, and greatly influenced by Glynn’s nephew and heir Algernon, a colourful character known locally as ‘The Admiral’.
During their ownership, as well as creating Clyne Gardens, the Vivian family re-modeled Clyne Castle in the Gothic Revival style. Famous visitors included Queen Victoria and Edward VII, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, Winston Churchill and the future King Edward VIII when he was still Prince of Wales.
The Gower Peninsula has been settled since prehistoric times and has many Neolithic and Bronze age features including Europe’s oldest formal burial site at Paviland, and the legendary Arthur’s Stone, a 25 ton capstone to a Neolithic burial chamber. In 1956, Gower was the first site in Britain to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, chosen for its diverse and unspoilt coastline, wildlife-rich salt marshes, sandstone heath ridges and dense woodlands.
Today the area is a major watersports destination - a surfer’s paradise – and a popular family holiday region, with 19 miles of quiet sandy beaches and bays. Katherine Jenkins described her favourite childhood holiday destination, Three Cliffs Bay, as gorgeous: “The bay is really beautiful, with three curious crags of triangular limestone jutting out into the waves like pyramids.”
On the south west tip of the Peninsula stands Rhossili Bay, a favourite with surfers and voted number one beach in Britain and 10th best in the world by TripAdvisor users, with breathtaking sunsets on a clear evening. Less than three miles from The Woodman is the resort of Langland Bay with its famous beach huts, a favourite with families and surfers.
Nearby Mumbles, overlooked by picturesque Oystermouth Castle and famous for its lighthouse and Victorian pier, boasts many independent shops and family attractions. Running inland from The Woodman following the course of the River Clyne from Blackpill, Clyne Valley Country Park has numerous walks and cycle trails and the area is rich in wildlife - Killay Marsh Nature Reserve lies within the boundaries of the Park.
Whatever the reason for a visit, The Woodman pub restaurant is an ideal place to savour a delicious pub lunch or one of the seasonal specials with family and friends on Swansea Bay in the heart of the glorious Gower Peninsula. Relaxing Sunday lunches and a fine selection of wines and cask ales, together with a welcoming ambience are always on offer.
You’ll find The Woodman on the Mumbles Road at Blackpill next to Clyne Gardens. Just key SA3 5AS into your satnav.