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Llanmadoc Hill and Tankey Lake Moor

Location: Grid Reference SS423923. Situated at the western end of the Gower peninsula, located between the small settlements of Llanmadoc and Cheriton to the northeast, and Llangennith to the southwest.
Area: 210.5 ha
Designations: Situated within
- 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.
There is one Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM) – The Bulwark Iron Age Hillfort.
Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC, Llanmadoc Hill)
Common land

Llanmadoc Hill from Hardings Down

'Cut and collect'

The bracken on the flat area of Tankey Lake Moor has been managed since 2000. Bracken bruisers were used on the site to suppress the growth of bracken which in some places was reaching 6 feet in height. This management has been so effective in reducing the size and vigour of the plants that that new methods are having to be used on these much smaller plants. In other areas a cut & collect or forage harvester has been used to collect up the bracken, leaving the grass beneath. This raw material is the first stage to setting up a venture to make soil improver for horticultural and agricultural uses. The collected material is piled up to make giant compost heaps, this is allowed to rot down to produce a rich fertiliser high in potash.

Wildlife interest
Habitats – patches of dry heath, acid grassland
Plants – Bristle Bent Grass (Agrostis curtisii), Ling (Calluna vulgaris), Bell heather Erica cinnerea, Western gorse (Ulex gallii) v European Gorse (Ulex europaeus)
Insects - Meadow Ants, Green Tiger Beetle (?check rarity),
Birds - Stone Chats, Reed bunting, Yellow Hammer, Sky larks, Swallows
Mammals – Terrestrial Shrew, Brown Hare, Fox

The Geology of Llanmadoc Hill and Tankey Lake Moor 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 subsurface horizon over conglomerate, and less acid and less stony coarse loamy soils over sandstone.


History & Archaeology
There are 20 identified sites of archaeological interest on these commons including 14 Bronze Age cairns, an The Bulwark Iron Age hillfort (Scheduled Ancient Monument 61) and Neolithic, Bronze Age and Roman finds.

The Bulwark occupants would fight the opposing occupants of the Hardings Down (something). During this bloody battle it is said that the blood flowed over the warriers’ boots. Their leader was killed, Tonkin, which gave it its name, Tankey (or Tonkin) Lake.

Earthworks enclosures and ditches built by the beaker people (p19 the story of Gower)


The Estuary
Cockles have been gathered for thousands of years and there methods have hardly changed, 2 people, normally ladies working in pairs, one would scrape up the sand into a large sieve ? and the other would use this to filter out the cockles. The only change these days is that the mesh size is set so that the larger cockles of about 5 years old are caught, the young ones are left to sustain the industry for the future generations.
Even the shells are not wasted as they are ground down and used in chicken feed or to surface paths.

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

Llanmadoc Hill walk




Site produced by Selina Taylor