The Gower peninsula is a clearly defined
geographical area containing a variety of landscapes from steep
limestone cliffs and secluded sandy bays on the south coast, long
and magnificent sands and spectacular headlands to the west, and
sand dunes and saltwater marshes along the north coast.
Crown copyright: RCAHMW
Ref number: HLW (WGI) 1
OS map: Landranger 159
Unitary authority: Swansea
Inland, the gently rolling coastal plateau gives way to higher
hills and ridges such as the dominant Cefn Bryn which cuts the
peninsula neatly into two, though these features seldom rise beyond
180m above OD.
Within this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the first in
Britain (1956), there are archaeological sites of most periods,
representing an unrivalled microcosm of Wales's historic wealth.
The two best surviving and most complete, close but topographically
discrete, archaeologically rich areas of the peninsula have been
A full published description for this landscape area is
available as a pdf download within the Related Articles section
Principal area designations:
Both areas within the Gower Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The West Gower area includes: Whiteford Burrows and Gower Coast
National Nature Reserves; Rhossili Down Site of Special Scientific
Interest; Hardings Down camps Scheduled Ancient Monument; Cheriton,
Llangennith, Llanmadoc, Port-Eynon and Rhossili Conservation Areas.
Cefn Bryn is almost entirely within the Cefn Bryn Common Site of
Special Scientific Interest.
Criteria: 2, 3
Contents and significance:
The two best surviving and most complete, close but
topographically discrete, historic areas on the Gower peninsula,
containing a rich and unrivalled evidence for a long sequence of
land use and occupation from the prehistoric to the industrial
The areas include:
Upper Palaeolithic caves; Neolithic chambered tombs; Bronze Age
funerary and ritual sites; Iron Age hill and promontory forts;
medieval religious and secular settlements, including Rhossili
deserted medieval village and the Vile open field system;
Port-Eynon 16th century salthouse and other recent industrial