PENINSULA LIFE • OUR HERITAGE
Brushing sand from the wooden steps, Harri quickly pops into the Barrel Sauna to clean down and add a few more drops of essential oils to the water bowl before the next guests arrive. Fringed by dusky dunes in the corner of Oxwich Bay, Ty Sawna is a new addition to the beachfront. Gathering an armful of logs from her van, she stokes the fire in the Harvia wood burner which heats the sauna. The unmistakable smell of eucalyptus escapes the open door blending with the ever present haze of woodsmoke and sea air.
Sun, sea, sand, sauna - it’s a pretty idyllic combination. Harri, owner and founder of Ty Sawna, started her business on the beach in early December last year with the aim of bringing people together to experience the incredible health benefits of combining cold water immersion with sauna sessions. After travelling and backpacking for over 8 years, she met with a friend in Ireland and stumbled upon a beach sauna.
Originally from Cardiff, Harri moved to the area last year when she launched her new venture. Her bespoke Barrel Sauna has been an undeniable hit with both locals and tourists alike and it’s easy to see why; a huge half circle window at one end offers breathtaking views across Oxwich Bay to Three Cliffs and beyond. Sauna-goers are often seen making a quick dash down to the shoreline, plunging into the sea or dousing themselves with buckets of water before jumping back into the warmth.
We headed down to the beach one afternoon to find out why everyone in our local community was now sauna obsessed.
“When I moved back to the UK, I discovered that there was a really big cold water therapy movement here; this actually goes hand in hand with sauna experiences. There are so many benefits to both and definitely when combined.
I’ve always loved being near the sea so being lucky enough to work in this environment has made me a happy woman. It is so beautiful, quiet and tranquil down here at Oxwich, I just love it! So many people have made new friends through the sauna. There is nothing better for you than simply getting outside; enjoying the sea and sauna together.
“I actually can’t remember the first time I went in a sauna… but after going to the beach sauna in Ireland last year I started researching the science, history and incredible health benefits, both mentally and physically, that we can get from sauna sessions. So yeh, it just grew from there.
I do what I do here on the beach because I wanted to find a job that means something to me. Something that also benefits my mental health and my well being.I’m then able to bring that to others and welcome them into this hub - it’s something that has a positive purpose and I really enjoy doing.
Gower is just so incredibly beautiful! It’s amazing here - the beaches, the people, the way of life; it’s a lot slower than the city of Cardiff and it’s just such a nice place to be. But my favourite thing has definitely been getting to know people; there is such a wonderful community here in Oxwich! I was pretty nervous moving down at first as I didn’t know anyone but have been welcomed in so well. I’ve met so many new people and get to see familiar faces every day - it’s really been so lovely.”
Not only does Harri offer communal and private bookings, she also works with local yoga teachers, groups and organisations to offer bespoke classes, events and sauna experiences. The relaxed community she has built on the beach is a testament to her hard work and welcoming, open nature. We asked her to describe her life on Gower in three words:
Happy. Exciting. New.
The calming atmosphere is a comforting balm to those looking to recoup from the effects of a busy life or simply catch up with friends. If you haven’t been down to Ty Sawna yet, we highly recommend that you book a session - you won't regret it.
We like to offer a huge thank you to Gower Secrets for allowing us to feature his outstanding images in this blog.