Gower was made Britain’s first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty more than 60 years ago, this has allowed the area to maintain a low level of man-made disturbance, resulting in safe, established breeding areas and swathes of untouched common and cliffs where rare plants are able to flourish.
The peninsula has 39 miles of coastline, so sea life is a key component of the area’s natural world. Above water you can spot dolphins and seals and below hosts a whole world of fish, crustaceans and molluscs. A large range of sea birds such as razorbills and oystercatchers reside in the area as well as birds of prey such as peregrine falcon and hen harriers.
Cefn Bryn (Swansea SA3 1AE) is the second highest point on Gower, the naturally formed ridge sits in the centre of the peninsula and stretches across 5 miles with far reaching views. Most of the ridge is common land and home to grazing livestock, this keeps the grass and gorse at bay and helps cultivate a diverse range of habitats where protected and rare species such as the skylark, brown hare and marsh fritillary butterfly are able to thrive.
Broad Pool sits near the base of Cefn Bryn, it’s a large fresh water pool and protected nature reserve. It’s home to many plants, amphibious creatures and insects such as dragonflies and you may spot birds such as snipe and heron with their pointed beaks.
The common is home to one of Gower’s famous landmarks, Arthurs Stone, a Neolithic burial monument. There are two other Scheduled Ancient Monuments on the common: Pen y Crug Round Barrow and Round Cairn.
As Cefn Bryn’s area is so large you can access it via villages nearby such as Cilibion, Reynoldston and Penmaen. This is also the best place for parking. There is a pull in near Arthur’s Stone but this is occasionally inaccessible for land preservation purposes.
Oxwich Bay (SA3 1LS) is a 2.5 mile sweep of coastline on southern Gower, flanked by two headlands. The beach sits alongside the wetlands and forest of Oxwich Nature Reserve which provides a rich variety of habitats for plants and wildlife
Due to the chalky environment in the dunes, you’ll see uncommon wildflowers such as orchids. Insects thrive in the freshwater lakes, they in turn attract bats that roost nearby.
On the road out of Oxwich at Whitestones, bird watchers can access a hide on the marsh. It is accessed by a boardwalk. Spot warblers, moorhens, little grebes and wildfowl.