Rotherslade

Beach huts at Rotherslade Bay. Photograph © Simonswansea66

Rotherslade is a small stretch of sandy beach at the eastern end of Langland Bay in the south Gower Peninsula, Wales. Also previously known as ‘Little Langland’ it only exists as a separate beach at high tide. At low tide it is continuous with Langland Bay.

At the head of Rotherslade once stood a large concrete structure. This was the site of a beach cafe and dance hall. It was abandoned and derelict for many years and was a major eyesore to the beach. After much discussion, including the idea getting the Army to blow it up, in the new millennium this structure was knocked down and replaced with concrete terracing, greatly improving the look of the beach.

On the top level of the terrace is a small cafe which is open for business on most days of the year, unlike the two cafes in the larger Langland Bay, as well as public toilets. The cliff path from the Mumbles to Langland Bay and Caswell runs directly outside the cafe, which also has an outside seating area overlooking the beach.

Above this again on another terrace are a number of rows of privately owned beach huts.

The beach is serviced by Rotherslade Road which runs from the busy, multi-junction, Langland Corner and has a number of large houses and maisonettes on its eastern side, but only a small hotel and a few houses at the top end on its western side. The road has never seen its own bus service, mainly due to the fact there is no turning space at the beach end.

Up until the final years of the 20th Century, Rotherslade hosted the Osborne Hotel, which was often frequented by visiting rugby and cricket teams playing at the St. Helens ground in nearby Swansea. The hotel fell on hard times and after a period of dereliction, was demolished in 2003, to be replaced by a large complex of luxury apartments, known as The Osborne Apartments, that were finally completed in 2006, some of which are now fetching nearly £500,000. A public right-of-way has been maintained from Rotherslade Road, on new steel staging and steps to emerge on the sharp bend in Langland Bay Road.

The construction of the Osborne Hotel gave rise to the discovery of Rother’s Tor Cave. In 1892, numerous prehistoric finds, including a mammoth’s tooth were uncovered here and, like most of the other finds from Gower caves, are kept on public display at Swansea Museum. Rother’s Tor Cave was filled in and sealed up by workmen to secure the foundations of the hotel. Famous Impressionist artist, Alfred Sisley, stayed in the Hotel during his honeymoon, and painted a few pictures of the large rock (Storr Rock) close to the cave entrance.