Gower - Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Chosen for its classic coastline and outstanding natural environment, Gower was the first AONB to be designated in 1956.
Complex geology gives a wide variety of scenery in a relatively small area. It ranges from the south coast's superb carboniferous limestone scenery at Worms Head and Oxwich Bay to the salt-marshes and dune systems in the north.
Inland, the most prominent features are the large areas of Common, dominated by sandstone heath ridges including the soaring sweep of Cefn Bryn.
Secluded valleys have rich deciduous woodland and the traditional agricultural landscape is a patchwork of fields characterised by walls, stone-faced banks and hedgerows.
New - new Special Planning Guidance has been issued to help provide advice about outside lighting, to reduce light pollution. Gower is well-known for its dark skys and stary nights - we want to keep it that way! Here is a link to the guidance - Lighting Scheme Guidance for Gower AONB
New - Design Guide for Gower AONB - this guide shows how new developements can be well designed, sustainable, and conserve and enhance Gower's built heritage and landscape. Here is a link to a draft copy ahead of the public consultation - Design Guide for Gower AONB. You will be able to download the sections from here, and we welcome your comments!
Both projects have been undertaken with support from CCW, whose support we gratefully acknowledge.
Detailed statistics on Gower, including maps and facts
There are different categories of activity and pressure which can be broadly separated into two categories the first which is reflected in the nature of land use within the AONB and the second is the environmental impact that is resultant from human activity and how this creates an ever changing backdrop against which environmental management challenges must be set.
There are 83 scheduled ancient monuments and ancient monument sites in the AONB representing most periods in history from the Upper Palaeolithic caves through medieval castles, eighteenth century parkland and industrial monuments. The AONB has been described as an 'unrivalled microcosm of Wales's historic wealth'.
The AONB is managed through a wide range of partnerships. The work of these partnerships is supported with inkind contributions of expertise and labour and financial contributions all of which create a close network of organisations whose ambition is to see the objectives of the management plan delivered in a cost effective way whilst ensuring the ongoing protection of Gower's special characteristics that ensure it remains an area of outstanding beauty.
A landscape rich in biodiversity and of international importance, with the key habitats of limestone grasslands, lowland, heathland, salt marshes, sand dunes, freshwater marsh and alder and ash woodlands in a good and stable condition. Key habitats, which support a healthy variety of wildlife able to withstand climate change. A geological landscape which is understood and respected, and protected from damaging activities.
Various books and guides have been produced by society’s and organisations with interest in the Gower AONB.
The management structure of the AONB takes the form of an advisory body "The Gower Countryside Forum" who review and comment upon the management plan and its implementation to the AONB Unit. The AONB Unit is staffed by employees of the City and County of Swansea who are charged with the management of the AONB and the formulation and implementation of the management plan. .
AONB status is not the only designation that offers Gower protection - there are a number of local, national and international sites which have a rich and important diversity that must be protected. Further information on protected landscapes can be found by using the CCW link in the right hand column.
The news pages offer up to date items of interest that are related to the management of Gower AONB. The event list will provide information relating to activities organised for the public by the City & County of Swansea and external providers.
Photographs and video clips of wonderful Gower
Information about our small environmental grant scheme which has been running since 2001 applying to AONB's in Wales only
Gower AONB is a wonderful place to explore and now there are more ways than ever. The Gower Explorer bus service linked to our leisure walks programme and the provision of the North Gower Cycle route provide a range of sustainable ways on enjoying the AONB.
The local Biodiversity action plan is currently going through the final process of updates following an extensive consultation period. The final version of the plan is likely to be presented to council for adoption in early 2006.
The Gower AONB Design Guide is an important piece of planning guidance, intended to help property owners, developers and planners to ensure that development respects the distinctive character of both the natural and built environment of Gower. The Guide provides a practical design tool to be used by all involved in the design and development process, whether planning permission is required or not