The popular Instagram famous sunflower fields at Rhossili in the Gower are starting to bloom once again if you fancy taking the family along to see the beautiful sight then here is some useful information on how to get there and what you can expect
In 2017 the National Trust started a five year project to restore the Vile in Rhossili and part of this project it included the planting of some 400,000 sunflowers to add value to our local wildlife.
However, with the stunning backdrop of Worm's Head stretching out to the sea, its no surprise that these impressive sunflower fields became a popular visitor’s destination for local families and visiting tourists.
2017 marked the start of a five year project by the National Trust to restore the Vile. As an ancient landscape, treasured for its rich cultural heritage they plan on restoring the landscape and farming the land in a way that's productive and of value to wildlife.
As one of the UK’s few surviving medieval strip field farming systems, it’s crucial that we look after this landscape.
The National Trust are looking to do this by:
This ancient style of farming, today, only found in a handful of places around the UK and we have it on our doorstep in West Wales
In 2021 the National Trust will be once again be planting a dwarf variety of sunflowers, but due to a cold spring their sunflowers will bloom later this year a few have started to open now but they are expecting them to bloom a bit later into August or even September.
As similar in previous years the National Trust have rotated their crops, so their sunflowers will be in a different location than in previous years. Their sunflower fields have a lovely rustic feel to them and are mixed with other wildflowers and due to the non-commercial nature of their fields it is worth noting that the ground is very uneven in places and is not really suitable for pushchairs or wheelchair users.
When the National Trust harvest their crops of sunflowers in September, they do it using an old 1970s combine harvester, a machine which is small enough to turn in the restored narrow strip fields. Then to help encourage wildlife, they leave behind some of the crop, so the seeds dry out and attract birds, such as linnets who are attracted to the linseed and these remaining sunflower seeds help feed birds on the coastline over the winter months.
Additional to the usual National Trust sunflower fields, once again the local farmer, Rob Morgan from The Gower Fresh Christmas, has planted sunflowers on his land.
His sunflower fields are set up as much more of a tourist attraction whilst benefitting wildlife, with a massive pretty sunflower ring for photo ops, catering facility selling food and drinks and this year he has also created a Gruffalo Trail for the kids to enjoy.
This year access his sunflower fields is via a different gate, you will still need to park in the National Trust Car Park before making your way along about an eight to ten minute signposted walk, with the path this year being pushchair and wheelchair friendly, albeit just a bit bumpy.
When you arrive at the National Trust Car Park you will see signs to follow that will direction you to both the National Trust Sunflower fields and the Gower Fresh Christmas Tree Sunflower fields.
It is easier to find the fields by putting the postcode SA3 1PR into your sat nav.
Here is the directional map that the Gower Fresh Christmas Trees have shared on Facebook to explain exactly where they are.
There is no need to pre book you can just turn up to visit the sunflower fields and you can park in the National Trust Car Park in Rhossili, which usually costs around £6 for a full day or Free to National Trust members
The National Trust fields are open all year round, all day, everyday, so you can visit them now, the commercial fields opened on 22nd July 2021 as a soft opening as most of the flowers wont be in full bloom until nearer the mid to end of August, opening times are dependant on weather and how busy they are but are roughly around 9.30am until 7pm and well-behaved dogs on leads are allowed at both sunflower fields (please just remember to take your mess home)
Cost wise aside from the car parking fees, it is completely free to walk around the National Trust sunflower fields, but you will need to pay an entry fee to walk around the commercial fields. Its is £2 entry per person which includes the Gruffalo Trail and then its £1.50 per stem for the Sunflowers you wish to pick. They are hoping to get card machines but are advising everyone to bring cash just in case.
The National Trust has increased six fields, to now seventeen purposely planted fields full of specially selected flowering crops to include half a million sunflowers, poppies, lavender and lupins which punctuate the crops of millet, wheat, oats, buckwheat, spelt, linseed and barley with ribbons of vibrant colour.
The National Trust sunflowers usually bloom alongside 15 hectares of wildflower meadows, as well as a hectare of lavender which are all also free to wander around and enjoy. However, due to 2020 restrictions on volunteers helping along with other demands around 90% of the lavender fields have been lost but there are still many wonderful flowers in bloom such as linseeds, poppies, vetch and sweet clover, as well as plenty of stunning bees and butterflies to watch.
As part of this restoration project the National Trust has also developed fantastic footpaths that allow families to take in the stunning views over Rhossili Bay, over the headland and out to the Worm. These paths form a network of circular walking routes through the Vile which actually take you through the flower rich meadows and past colourful crops.
With the first new paths opening in Spring of 2018 and more added since they vary in length from half an hour stroll to a longer pleasant tour around the headland, all within a short distance from the newly refurbished National Trust car park at Rhossili, which has some fab local council run toilet facilities in it which is always handy with kids in tow!
The footpaths are all open this year and can be accessed from the overflow car park or from the main path that heads to the Worm, just follow the signs for waymarkers.
If this is a local project that you family would like to support then the National Trust are actually running a fundraising campaign that you can donate to, so you can help restore Rhosili’s iconic landscape and safeguard its wildlife by delivering more for nature on the Vile.
Basically, by donating you would be helping the National Trust to farm in a wildlife-friendly way by creating food sources for bees and butterflies, and winter nourishment for hundreds of birds. For example, if you can donate £5 that can to help plant more Lavender, £10 can help feed bees and butterflies through the summer and birds through the winter or £25 can help plant a sack of sunflowers.
You can read more about the work and Donate to the Rhosili Appeal on via the National Trust Website Here