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The Gower Peninsula is a relatively low plateau area much of which is underlain by carboniferous limestone, weathered in places to produce a well drained, fertile and easily worked terra rossa soil and elsewhere covered by a glacial drift of clays and sands – all of which support arable farming. Rhossili Down is one of several isolated anticlinal folds of Old Red Sandstone which stand above this plateau and which have thinner and less rewarding soils than the plateau and are left as commonable pastures.

The nature of the solid geology is an important determining factor in the availability of the water supply and therefore in dictating the sites of settlements. Villages such as Rhossili are sited upon or near to the junction of porous limestone and sandstone with the impervious shales, where springs occur or where wells need only be of moderate depth.



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