Last week was National Ice Cream Week. Where are most ice creams sold? I haven’t a clue, possibly at beaches, but I do know that the end of the week coincides with the announcements of where we think the best beach in the UK is. The Cadbury Flake Great British Beach Awards (you can guess who the sponsor is) are not decided by water quality, cleanliness of the beaches or some government team. You will have voted for them online so therefore the winners were totally up to you and based on your own criteria.
And Rhossili Bay in the Gower was voted the runaway winner. It received 47% of all the votes with Tresco in the Scilly Isles coming second on 19%. Then came Margate and Blackpool on 10%. In the end, about 7,700 people voted so about 3,600 plumped for Rhossili from the short list of 24 that judges picked.
Rhossili Bay is a small, sandy beach that is only about 3 miles long but at low tide, it seems much bigger since you can even walk to Worms Head which becomes an island when the tide is in. It was described by Frank Barrett of the Mail on Sunday as “perfection within perfection.” Maybe it retains some of its beauty and appeal because it isn’t the easiest beach to get to. The path is steep and not for the unfit. Being next to a nature reserve means that not only beach seekers, swimmers and surfers visit the area. Bird watchers come in numbers as well. It can be dangerous as it gets the Atlantic winds so the waves can be large. That attracts the surfers. There is also the nineteenth-century wreck of the Helvetia in the sand, a reminder of how treacherous the waters off Rhossili can be. And the old abandoned WWII radar station that is at the end of one path. Because it does appeal to such a wide range of visitors may be why Rhosilli won.
Is everyone happy about this? No at least one person who commented on this story when it appeared in the Daily Mail commented, “Damn. I hoped West and North Wales would remain a secret.” He obviously fears more tourists now that it has won this award! Oh and yes, there is ice cream for sale in the cafe. And with a flake in it, if you want one.