Article reproduced by kind permission of Swansea Evening Post

To say it has attracted its fair share of visitors is as big an understatement as suggesting Cristiano Ronaldo is not bad at football.They are flocking to perhaps Gower's best-loved landmark from all corners of the globe.

But how do they find their way to Rhossili and Worm's Head?

That is what has left people like David Evans and Audrey Frank scratching their heads.

They have first-hand knowledge of the worldwide popularity of the beauty spot in their roles with the National Coastwatch Institution there.

As part of a 40-strong team of volunteers who play their part in making the potentially hazardous area safer, they advise "Worm walkers" about the dangers of getting cut off by the tide and act as an early warning system for coastguards.

And during quiet moments - but only quiet moments - they welcome visitors into their small HQ, an old cliff-top coastguard hut now leased by the National Trust.

It is then that the extraordinary pull of the place becomes apparent.

The visitors' book contains the evidence. You will find addresses in it from Spain, America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, Norway, Macedonia, India, Greece, Italy, Croatia, Holland, Israel, Germany, Switzerland, China . . . the list goes on.

Closer to home, and First Minister Rhodri Morgan popped in last month while off duty.

"One of the world's finest views," he wrote. "Privileged to be here."

"I am absolutely amazed at where people come from, "said Mrs Frank, who is deputy station manager.

"They must see it on websites, but it is incredible.

"We had three charity workers who had got out of Chad the day before it kicked off there. They were on their way to Canada and they were Brazilian. I ask you. How can you explain that? They could not speak much English, so I don't know how they got there."

Bizarre drop-ins are part and parcel of the coastwatch centre, which only opened in April last year, but they serve graphically to illustrate the global attraction of the "Worm" and surrounding coastline. "A lot of people have had family from here or they came here as a child," said Audrey.

But it goes a lot wider than that.

"I did not expect to have someone from the Middle East come here," said Mr Evans, who is the station spokesman. "The head of the National Guard in Saudi Arabia brought us coffee and dates.

"And one day an RAF Chinook pilot and his wife walked in. He said he would be back and my colleague, who was on watch, said how would they know? He replied: "Oh, you will know."

About 10 days later I was on watch and this Chinook started flying low towards us. I went outside and he and his fellow crew member were waving at us! They were obviously on a training run.

"Gower is well-known, but I am amazed at the people who come here. How do they find it?"

The diversity of the visitors is an obvious sign of the appeal of Gower, an indicator of its strength as a tourist destination.

"Gower's position as the hidden gem of Wales is being appreciated by an increasing number of discerning visitors from all over the world," said Geoff Haden, vice-chairman of Tourism Swansea Bay.

"I believe that this is as a result of the drip feed of increased exposure of the area through television programmes such as Britain's Favourite View in which Katherine Jenkins championed Gower, and Three Cliffs in particular, as well as Rhossili featuring in programmes like Doctor Who.

"Dylan Thomas was famously marooned on Worm's Head and had to walk the 18 miles back to Cwmdonkin Drive, and an increasing interest in the writer brings visitors to the places he visited."

As the visitors keep on coming, the coastwatch volunteers continue to give up their spare time for free. Teams of two put in four-hour shifts from 10am to 6pm, 365 days a year to lessen the risk of people being cut off from the mainland by the causeway two-and-a-half hours either side of low tide.

Despite the presence of tide tables, some just do not get it.

"Someone came up to us and said 'why do you shut the causeway?'," said Mrs Frank. "Another came along and said 'it says that you can walk out there, but there is water there'. Some people come here from places which don't have tides, don't have water."

And there is a need to strengthen the team - one of only two in Wales with the other in Barry. "We are 40, but we are not quite enough," said Mr Evans.

"We could do with being 50. We are normally older people or semi-retired - although not all are - and sometimes people go away and see their grandchildren or go on holiday.

"We are a visual force in daylight hours.

"We have to raise every penny ourselves.

"Our costs are £2,500 to £3,000 a year, mainly to cover insurance, and we have to buy our own uniforms.

"But it is nice to give something back. Every single member loves being there.

"We want to stay open 365 days of the year and we are determined to do that. We had 200 visitors on Christmas Day alone last year.

"In our first year we gave advice to 6,000 people. We have initiated the rescue of 29 people since and have prevented countless more through the advice we have given."