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Roads cross many of the commons of Gower. The roads passing through Fairwood Common, Pengwern Common and Cefn Bryn are particularly busy, being some of the main access routes through Gower.

It is on these roads where many collisions with wandering livestock occur. Several measures to reduce traffic accidents have been implemented and are currently being researched but traffic still remains one of the biggest threats to commons and their value for agriculture, landscape, wildlife, tradition and recreation.

Ponies and traffic

Dead cow

Dead sheep

In 2006, vehicles killed or seriously injured over 70 commoner’s animals on just one common in a 3-month period. More often than not, the commoners bear the financial burden of such losses. These are not only direct losses through death/injury; as farmers see the increased threat to the health of their animals they frequently move them to more secure sites, therefore reducing the amount of stock grazing the commons. This is of considerable concern as grazing animals are crucial to the conservation of the commons’ heritage, landscape, access and wildlife interest.

Whilst some animal deaths cannot be avoided, it is believed that many of the animal deaths are caused by local people who have perhaps become complacent about the animals on the commons and travel too fast; many of the accidents occur during busy commuting hours, in the mornings and evenings. Collisions at these times may also be for another reason: animals often sleep on, or close to, the roads at night, because they radiate heat from the tarmac surface that has warmed up during the day.

  • Report traffic accidents involving livestock to the Police, Tel: 01792 456999. It is illegal to not report a collision.
  • For more information about traffic accidents involving livestock on Gower Roads contact the Gower Commoners Association on Tel: 07854 948627



Measures to reduce traffic accidents
Cattle grids prevent animals from moving into narrow stretches of road between commons where they are vulnerable to fast moving traffic. In 2007, the Gower Commons Initiative installed of a number of new cattle grids on the following commons.  
Cattle collars
Luminous collars have been put onto dark coloured cattle so that they are more visible to motorists at night. Press coverage of cattle collars.
12 metre strips of common are mown either side of approximately 15 miles of Gower roads so that grazing animals are more visible to approaching motorists.  

Speed restrictions :
 The Gower Commons Initiative Partnership has been working closely with the Police, Traffic and Accident investigators, commoners and the Highways Authority to collect data on traffic speed, speed restrictions and animal injuries/fatalities to begin a case for a restriction in road traffic speed crossing these open sites. There are currently no speed restrictions but motorists are advised to travel at no more than 40 miles per hour on roads through commons to allow more time to see and react to grazing animals on or near the roads. In 2005 a survey of local people revealed that ?% were in favour of 40 mile/hour speed restriction on the whole of Gower.

Why can’t the animals be fenced in?
Common land is a landscape that is historically open. The openness of Gower commons is part of the beauty of this landscape, a reason why it is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and beloved by visitors to Gower.Fencing on commons requires permission from the National Assembly for Wales and that permission forms part of a lengthy legal process.




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