Nature Reserves in Gower

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Nature Reserves in Gower

Gower has a large number of designated areas which have been officially recognised and protected for various natural attributes or the presence of rare flora or fauna. In a nutshell, the entire peninsular is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural beauty; The Burry estuary on the north of the peninsular is a 6500 hectre Ramsar site; there are 5 Special Areas of Conservation; 1 Marine Special Areas of Conservation; 1 Special Protection Area; 33 Sites of Special Scientific Interest; 4 National Nature Reserves; 6 Local Nature Reserves; 1 Country Park; 19 Managed Reserves. In addition, the entire coast line  is a designated a heritage coast.

Below is a map providing the locations of the various designated areas. The markers lie on the national and local nature reserves or generally the sites which are less sensitive to high visitor numbers. Please remember that many of the SSSI’s cannot be accessed by the general public and many sites are very sensitive and unless you have a specific interest may be better left alone.

Key to Designations

AONB – An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a precious landscape whose distinctive character and natural beauty are so outstanding that it is in the nation’s interest to safeguard them. Gower was the first area to receive such a nomination way back in 1956, chosen for its classic coastline and outstanding natural environment. Today there are 46 AONB’s throughout the UK.

SSSI – Site of Special Scientific Interest, are sites which have been designated for their biological or geological interest by virtue of their flora or fauns or geological / geomorphological features. Gower has 33 SSSI’s.

SAC – Special Areas of Conservation, of which there are five on the peninsula. They are strictly protected sites designated under the EC Habitats Directive, which aims to establish a European network of important high-quality conservation sites which will aid in the conservation of identified habitats and species.

SPA – Special Protection Areas are strictly protected sites under the EEC birds directive. They are classified for rare and vulnerable birds and for regularly occurring migratory species. There is one SPA on the peninsula, the Burry inlet.

NNR – National Nature Reserves - there are three on the peninsula.

Ramsar Site – Ramsar sites are designated under the International Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitats. The is one Ramsar site in the Gower area, the Burry Estuary.

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