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Hardings Down

Location: Grid Reference SS436908
Situated at the western end of the Gower peninsula, located 1km to the southeast of the small settlement of Llangennith.
Area: 65.06ha
Designations: Hardings Down lies within
- an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
- West Gower landscape which is included in the Register of Landscapes or Outstanding Historic Interest in Wales (CCW/CADW: Welsh Historic Monuments/ICOMOS UK 1998, 53-56.
- Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs) on site.
Common Land
CRoW Open Access land. For more information go to www.ccw.gov.uk

Hardings Down

Bracken rolling on Hardings Down

This site has been the location for a number of scientific studies; from experiments on the Bracken management to studying the effects of isolation of what?. In (what year) an experiment started by Oxford University to study the effect of habitat destruction on food web diversity. This research aims to predict how habitat destruction will lead to biodiversity loss here in the UK and the rest of the World.

Research has also been undertaken to study how the work of the Gower Commons Initiative to control bracken is contributing to improving the habitat biodiversity and trying to work out how these are working to be able to improve our management? techniques.

Wildlife Interest
Water Shrews
In 2005 the GCI took part in the in the first national Water Shrew survey organised though the Mammal Society. This site has two positive locations and this was the first time that the animal had been recorded on this site. Prior to this survey there was no data on the distribution or status of Water Shrews on Gower. This information will help us to protect this mammal and its habitat for the future.

Hardings Down comprises Permo-Triassic and Devonian reddish conglomerate and sandstone overlain by humo-ferric podzols of the Goldstone association. These are well-drained, very acid, very stony, sandy soils with a bleached sub-surface horizon over conglomerate, and less acid and less stony coarse loamy soils over sandstone.

Hill forts on Hardings Down

History & Archaeology
There are five known sites of archaeological interest on Hardings Down including

  • a Bronze Age cairn
  • three Iron Age Hillforts (all are Scheduled Ancient Monuments).
  • a standing stone of unknown period

The presence of the three hillforts indicates that Hardings Down was a foucs for activity during the Iron Age. It is possible that previously unrecorded outlying earthworks associated with these featuers may be present on the lower slopes of Hardings Down.

Hill forts on Hardings Down

How you can spot these features…
The easiest features to spot are the sites of the hill forts. All three are marked on the Ordnance Survey Explorer Map for the area. On the ground they are defined by a turf-covered bank and ditch which marks the perimeter of the fort. On the inside of this perimeter there are, in some places, a single course of large stone blocks, which further define the site. There is usually a gap in the bank where the entrance to the fort would have been.

Heather on Hardings Down

To download a copy of the guided walk over the commons, please follow the link below:

Hardings Down and Ryers Down walk








Site produced by Selina Taylor