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Gower Nature Reserves and SSSIs

Since Gower was designated the first area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in the UK, it should come as no surprise that there are many areas in Gower that have been designated as Nature Reserves or Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

I've got to admit that I was a little confused by all the different terminology, so to make it simple here is a bit of help.

What is a Nature Reserve?
A Nature Reserve is a place that has had measures of special protection imposed on it because of the importance of conserving a geological feature or a natural habitat with its flora and fauna, in order to provide an opportunity for scientific research.

What is a National Nature Reserve?
A National Nature Reserve is a nature reserve that is deemed to be one of the best examples of its particular habitat and therefore is of National importance.

What is a SSSI?
A Site of Special Scientific Interest or SSSI is a term or designation given to an area in the UK which is protected for conservation.

Below is a Google map showing the approximate location of the nature reserves and SSSI's. Much more detailed information on the reserves themselves can be found beneath the map, where the sites are listed.

The following nature reserves are managed by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales.

Phone 01656 724100 or visit their website www.welshwildlife.org

Name, location and type of reserve
(with link to much more detailed info.)

Berry Wood, Knelston



Betty Church & Cwm Ivy, Llanmadoc

Woodland, plantation, pasture & quarry


Broad Pool, Cilibion

Freshwater pool


Elizabeth & Rowe Harding Reserve, Ilston

Limestone quarry, plantation, scrub & woodland


Gelli Hir, Fairwood Common

Wet & dry woodland


Hambury Wood, Landimore



Killay Marsh, Killay

Marshy grassland, wet & dry woodland


Kilvrough Manor Woods, Parkmill



Llanrhidian Hill, Llanrhidian

Grassland, scrub & quarries


Lucas Reserve, Llanmadoc

Wet woodland, grassland & scrub


Prior's Meadow, Three Crosses

Wet woodland & lowland meadow


Redden Hill Wood, Parkmill



Redley Cliff, Caswell

Coastal limestone headland, woodland, scrub & grassland


The following reserves are collectively known as the South Gower Coast Reserves and stretch between the outreaching parts of Rhossili (Pilton Green) and Port Eynon. They are owned by the National Trust and managed by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales.

Deborah's Hole, Pilton Green, Rhossili

Sea cliff, calcareous grassland & heath

Click to enlarge

Long Hole Cliff, Pilton Green

Sea cliffs, limestone grassland, heath & caves


Overton Cliff, Overton

Sea cliffs, limestone grassland, heath & scrub


Overton Mere, Overton

Click to enlarge

Port Eynon Point, Port Eynon

Sea cliff, foreshore, limestone grassland & heathland


Sedger's Bank, Port Eynon

Rocky foreshore, beach & relic sand dune, grassland

Click to enlarge


NT owned SSSI's are as follows:
Whiteford Burrows, Landimore Marsh and Broughton Bay (part NT)
Cwm Ivy Marsh and Tor
Minchin Hole
South Gower Coast: Rhossili to Port Einon (part NT)
Burry Inlet and Loughor Estuary (part NT)
Pwll Du Head and Bishopston Valley
Cefn Bryn Common (part NT)
Horton, Eastern and Western Slade (part NT)
Rhossili Down
Oxwich Bay (part NT)

National Nature Reserves on Gower are:
Whiteford (NT owned and leased to CCW)
South Gower Coast (NT owned - this includes Worms Head)
Oxwich (owned and managed by CCW)

Special Areas of Conservation are:
Gower Commons (inc Rhossili Down, Welshmoor, Cefn Bryn (part NT) which are NT)
Gower Ash Woods (inc Bishopston Valley, Nicholaston woods (part NT) which is NT)
Limestone Coast of South West Wales (inc south Gower Coast (part NT) and Pwll Du Head )
Carmarthen Bay and Estuaries (inc Burry Inlet and Whiteford which are part NT)
Carmarthen Bay Dunes (inc Whiteford which is part NT)

Ramsar Site - Burry Inlet (part NT)
Special Protection Area - Burry Inlet (Part NT)

We also own land at Overton/Port Einon which we lease to the Wildlife Trust, just to complicate matters further. We have maps if you want to see them to clarify things!

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