Gower Nature Reserves and SSSIs

06th October 2017
Marsh Fritillary Butterfly

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.

The map below shows the approximate location of the nature reserves and SSSI’s.

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

Berry Wood, Knelston (Woodland)

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 (Woodland)

Killay Marsh, Killay (Marshy grassland, wet & dry woodland)

Kilvrough Manor Woods, Parkmill (Woodland)

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 (Woodland)

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)
Long Hole Cliff, Pilton Green (Sea cliffs, limestone grassland, heath & caves)
Overton Cliff, Overton (Sea cliffs, limestone grassland, heath & scrub)
Overton Mere, Overton
Port Eynon Point, Port Eynon (Sea cliff, foreshore, limestone grassland & heathland)
Sedger’s Bank, Port Eynon (Rocky foreshore, beach & relic sand dune, grassland)

National Trust (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 Eynon (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)