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Countryside Council for Wales
Landscape & wildlife Please note - A new body, Natural Resources Wales has taken over all functions and services previously carried out by Countryside Council for Wales. While the Natural Resources Wales website continues to be developed, some online services will continue to be provided on this web site.

Southerndown Coast

This site is of special interest for both its geology and biology.

Exposed along this stretch of coast is a complicated and fascinating sequence of rocks. Older, Carboniferous limestone (approximately 335 million years old) is overlain by younger Triassic (200 million years old) and Jurassic (195 million years old) rocks. The surface of the grey Carboniferous limestone is extremely uneven, with fossil cliffs and valleys visible along the foreshore. These were filled and covered over during late Triassic and early Jurassic times. The Triassic rocks are characteristically red, whilst the Jurassic comprises alternate layers of hard limestone and soft mudstone. A jumbled layer of pebbles and boulders usually forms the bottom of both the Triassic and Jurassic rocks. This stretch of coast is also important for the minerals found within the rock sequence. Baryte, galena, calcite and pyrite can all be found in veins in the rocks and a complex history of mineralisation can be studied here.

The vegetation of the cliff-tops and valleys includes species-rich neutral, calcareous and maritime grassland, scrub and woodland and intertidal communities. Several rare plants can be found, including tuberous thistle, purple gromwell, shore dock and clustered bellflower, which are all features of interest of the site.

Southerdown coast SSSI aerial photo

© This orthophotography has been produced by COWI A/S from digital photography captured by them in 2006. Licensed by the Welsh Assembly Government's Department for Environment, Planning and Countryside.

Managing this site

The site is in private ownership. The special features of this SSSI and CCW’s views about site management have been summarised in a Site Management Statement, addressed to the owners and managers of the land. The statement can be found in the resource section below.

Access information

The northern end of the site, from Ogmore-by-Sea to Southerndown, is registered common land and CROW open access land. To the South of Southerndown, the coastal part of Dunraven Park is open to the public. A right of way continues south along the cliff top as far as Cwm Bach, where it turns inland. The cliffs are dangerous in places and great care is needed as rocks often fall from them. For detailed maps and information regarding access visit our access map via the resource section below.

Other information

The site includes Dunraven Bay Special Area of Conservation.

Resources

Corporate

SEE ALSO...

Access map

This is a link to Outdoor Wales on Line

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The landscapes team [SSSI]
C/O Enquiries
CCW
Maes-y-Ffynnon
Penrhosgarnedd
Bangor
Gwynedd
LL57 2DW
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0845 1306229
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