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Rhossili Down and Rhossili Cliffs

Location: Grid Reference SS424895 (centre of Down), SS405877 (part of cliffs)
Situated on the Western tip of Gower
Area:
Designations:

Rhossili Down and Cliffs are CRoW open access land.
Rhossili Down is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Rhossili Down is a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC).
There are six Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs) on Rhossili Down and Cliffs:

  • Round Cairn on Bessie's Meadow
  • Enclosure on Rhossili Down
  • Burnt Mounf on Rhossili Down
  • Lewes Castle Promontory Fort
  • Rhossili Down Round Cairns
  • Old Castle Camp
  • Sweyne's Howe Chambered Cairns

Common land
Open access land

These sites lie within
- Gower 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.

Awaiting photo

At the tip of the Gower Peninsula is the sweeping bay of Rhossili. With the bones of a shipwreck and the tidal island of Worm's Head revealed at low tide, the best way to take it all in is to follow the 200m climb above the bay to Rhossili Down Commons. From here, the views are simply magnificent. The Commons also boast prehistoric stone circles, cairns and burial chambers. Rhossili Down and Cliffs are among the larger of the commons on Gower covering 354 hectares in total. Rhossili Down is predominately composed of dry acid dwarf shrub heath (Biodiversity Action Plan priority habitat) and Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) dominated areas. The site supports a good biodiversity of flora and fauna including a number of protected species:

Mammals: Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus)
Birds: Skylark (Alauda arvensis) , Chough (Pyrrhocaorax pyrrhocorax)
Butterflies: Marsh Fritillary (Eurodryas aurinia)
Larger Moths: Narrow-bordered Bee-hawk (Hemaris tityus)
Dragonflies: Southern Damselfly (Coenagrion mercuriale)
Other invertebrates:  Black Bog Ant (Formica candida), Hornet (Vespa crabro), Robber-fly (Asilus crabroniformis)

There is also considerable historical interest on both the cliffs and Down. See ‘Designations’ below for a list of Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs). Particularly obvious are the remains of a World War II Radar Station situated on top of the Down towards its north western end. From this position the radar station was able to send early warning to Swansea of approaching enemy planes. On the cliffs to the right of the path that leads to Worms Head are distinct grass covered mounds and ditches which are the remains of Old Castle Camp, an Iron Age Fort.

This is a place of stunning natural beauty with abundant wildlife and much archaeological interest.

 

   

Site produced by Selina Taylor