Benefits of the Gower Commons Initiative
Many different groups have benefited from the project:
Benefits to the Commoners
- More grazing available on the commons as the total amount of bracken is reduced and the total amount of edible grasses and other plants has increased.
- The animals are being dipped less frequently as there are less ticks due to reduction in the amount of bracken.
- Due to the increase in available grazing the animals are of a better live weight and therefore more marketable.
- Animals are easier to shepherd with dogs and the animals can now be seen grazing the hills.
- Machines bought by the project will stay with the Gower commoners and continue to be used to manage the commons.
- Bracken cleared as part of the works will be composted and sold locally bringing in new revenue to the Commoners enabling them to accrue sufficient income to sustain the commons.
- Cattle grids have been installed and are essential to keep livestock on the commons and off the roads, reducing the number of animals which are killed or seriously injured on Gower’s Roads.
Benefits to wildlife
- Gower Commons support species and habitats of national and international importance.
- Each year the project undertakes a 1000 acres of bracken control and cuts 164 miles of fire breaks.
- By working together we have secured significant benefits to biodiversity from habitat improvement to species specific works. These works not only benefit biodiversity but access and recreation.
Benefits to the Gower Heathland Partnership
The Gower Commons Initiative has demonstrated that it is possible to bring together an unique and diverse range of organisations. Previously there has been a lack of understanding of views between organisations. Commoners groups by their nature are very independent in their thinking and actions, partnership working was a significant challenge. This partnership is perceived as being extremely successful and the demonstration of this has been fundamental toward the formation of the emerging Welsh Commoners Forum.
Benefits to communities and visitors
- Access to the commons has been greatly improved through the management of bracken, gorse and scrub which had previously made some areas of common impenetrable.
- More information is now available to help people appreciate and understand the landscape, wildlife and heritage of commons.
The Gower Commons Initiative is at the forefront of commons’ management in Wales and has played a role in advising on legislation, forming the Welsh forum of Commoners, establishing the Gower Safety Partnership and moving forward with a range of schemes to raise awareness and secure grazing on the commons for the future. The Initiative has also trailed a number of innovative techniques which are now being applied to the control of bracken on sites of nature conservation importance within the UK