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Overton Mere, Overton, Gower, Swansea

Linnet

Linnet Sea cliff, limestone grassland, heath and scrub.

The reserve is named after the bay over which it looks. The reserve has almost the full range of South Gower Coast habitats ranging from Hawthorn and Blackthorn scrub, through mixed Gorse and heath, open limestone scree, to improved and unimproved limestone grassland.

The areas of improved grassland are to be found on the plateau area closest to the sea shore which is a fossil raised beach dating back to the last Ice Age. The improvement came about when the previous owner ploughed these areas for potatoes, and they were subsequently reseeded with grass.

Lime-loving flowers such as Common Rock-rose (6-9), Milkwort (5-9), Eyebright (7-9), and Thyme (6-8) flourish while Linnet, Meadow Pipit, and Stonechat search the grassland and scrub for food. Oystercatcher and other shore birds can be seen in the Mere at low tide.

Bloody-nosed Beetle and Green Tiger Beetle are regularly to be found on the path in summer, the rare Silky Wave Moth hides in the Gorse, and an assemblage of solitary bees and wasps nest in tunnels dug in the soft sediments of the wave cut platform.

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 164 Gower. Main entrance: SS460850, Site centre: SS462848

Status Part of the South Gower Coast SSSI, which in turn is part of the European Natura 2000 site, the Limestone Sea Cliffs of South West Wales SAC.

Tenure The reserve was purchased in December 1963 and March 1986 with financial help and grant aid from SPNR’s Nuffield Fund, the Pilgrim Trust, and WWF. The Trust purchased the agricultural rights in 1996, with the help of grant aid from CCW.

Size 11.6 ha (28.6 acres).

Location andAccess Notes
0.5 km south of the village of Overton, adjacent to Port Eynon Point nature reserve. Access to the reserve can be gained by way of the first field gate on the left on the track leading out of Overton Village to the west, or by way of the coastal public footpath and stile from Port Eynon Point. Not accessible to wheelchairs.

Public Transport
Bus numbers 117, 118, 115 and 21a from Swansea Quadrant Bus Station to Overton village.

Download a leaflet about this reserve

Sedger’s Bank, Port Eynon, Gower

Description: Rocky foreshore, beach, and relict sand dune grassland.

Sedger’s Bank makes up a large part of the most western edge of Port Eynon Bay and the entirety of the nature reserve can only be seen on the lowest tides of the year.

Mussels Paul NaylorThe only area of the reserve which is above high water mark is made up of a small storm beach surmounted by a relict sand dune upon which Sea Bindweed (6-8), Rest Harrow (6-9), and Sea Spurge (7-10) grow.

The rest of the nature reserve is frequently covered by sea water depending on the height of the tide in the cycle between springs and neaps, and the limestone rocks provide shelter for the full range of rocky shore life including Barnacle, Mussel, Whelk, and Beadlet Anemone, together with Serrated Wrack and with a variety of red algae such as Coral Weed. The whole site is fringed at its lowest point by a forest of kelp, dominated by Oarweed.

The reserve serves as a roosting place for Purple Sandpiper and Shags at near high tide in winter, and is also a site where Grey Seal haul out.

Management Objectives: Monitor for any marine pollution incidents.

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 164 Gower. Site centre: SS470844

Status Part of the South Gower Coast SSSI, which in turn is part of the European Natura 2000 site, the Limestone Sea Cliffs of South West Wales SAC.

Tenure The freehold of this reserve was given to the Trust in April 1966 by the late Mr. C.P.M. Methuen-Campbell.
Size 35.1 ha (85.7 acres).

Location and Access Notes

0.5 km south of Port Eynon village, at the western side of the beach. Not accessible to wheelchairs.

Public transport Bus numbers 114, 115, 117, 118 and 119 from Swansea Quadrant Bus Station to Port Eynon

Sedger's Bank

Port Eynon Point, Port Eynon, Swansea

Description: Sea cliff, foreshore, limestone grassland, heathland, secondary Ash woodland, and quarries.

A large part of the reserve on the inland side has been used for quarrying and now provides a varied set of habitats for plants and animals, including Fox and Rabbit, and birds such as Stonechat and Rock Pipit.

bladder campionAlthough part of the cliff top was ploughed during the last war, there is no indication of it in the Gorse heath vegetation that now dominates it. There is a very clear grass strip along the cliff top which is maintained by Rabbit grazing and visitor pressure, where a range of flowers can be found including Sea Campion (6-8), Spring Squill (4-5), Thrift (3-9) and Wild Clary (5-7).

The reserve is regionally important as a sea watching site particularly in late July and early August, though interesting birds are usually present throughout the year. January and February often bring Red-throated and Great Northern Diver. At the end of July and early August at day break, large numbers of Manx Shearwater and Gannet may be seen flying past and often there are large groups of Common Scoter off-shore.

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 164 Gower. Main entrance: SS467848, Site centre: SS465845

Status Part of the South Gower Coast SSSI, which in turn is part of the European Natura 2000 site, the Limestone Sea Cliffs of South West Wales SAC.

Tenure Acquired under leasehold for 60 years in February 1965. The Trust purchased the agricultural rights in 1996, with the help of grant aid from CCW.

Size 13.4 ha (33 acres).

Location and Access Notes

Port Eynon village lies at the end of the A4118. Port Eynon Point can be accessed from the footpath on the west side of Port Eynon beach. Not accessible to wheelchairs. Take care on cliff-top footpaths.

Public Transport

Bus numbers 114, 115, 117, 118 and 119 from Swansea Quadrant Bus Station to Port Eynon.

 

Port Eynon Point

Overton Cliff & Roydon’s Corner, Overton, Gower, Swansea

Bloody Cranesbill Philip Precey

Description: Sea cliffs, limestone grassland, heath and scrub.

Overton Cliff can be accessed from the stile in the south east corner of the Long Hole Cave nature reserve in the west, or from the footpath adjacent to the seashore of the Overton Mere nature reserve in the east.

Bloody Cranesbill Philip Precey

Bloody Cranesbill Philip Precey

Overton Cliff is ungrazed at present and the vegetation is predominantly heathland and scrub made up of a mixture of European and Western Gorse (7-10) and Bell Heather (7-8) together with Hawthorn, Blackthorn, and Juniper (4). Because of the close proximity of the sea and lack of grazing part of the grassland at the western end of the reserve, which is dominated by Red Fescue, has formed a thick mattress-like sward, now invaded by Gorse.

Early Purple Orchid (4-5) followed by Bloody Cranesbill (6-8) and Carline Thistle (7-9) adorn the limestone grassland, while the Wild Madder climbs its way through the Gorse.

Feral Rock Dove use the ledges on Overton Cliff to nest, while Jackdaw use the cave and rock face. Green Woodpecker might be seen foraging for ants amongst the anthills in the grassland.

Grayling butterfly (7-8) favour the open scree slopes, while the Dotted Beefly (4-5) searches for solitary bees nesting at the cliff edge, and other solitary wasps hunt spiders and snails.

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 164 Gower. Main entrance: SS460848, Site centre: SS458848

Status Part of the South Gower Coast SSSI, which in turn is part of the European Natura 2000 site, the Limestone Sea Cliffs of South West Wales SAC.

Tenure Overton Cliff was purchased in February 1964 with financial help and grant aid from SPNR’s Nuffield Fund, the Pilgrim Trust and WWF. Roydon’s Corner was purchased in 1996 with grant aid from CCW.

Size 11.1 ha (27.4 acres).

Location and Access Notes

0.2 km south west of the village of Overton, adjacent to Overton Mere nature reserve. Not accessible to wheelchairs.

Public Transport

Bus numbers 117, 118, 115 and 21a from Swansea Quadrant Bus Station to Overton village.

Overton Cliff

Long Hole Cliff Overton, Gower, Swansea

Weasel Elliot Smith

Description: Sea cliffs, limestone grassland, heath, and caves.

Long Hole Cliff is named after a small cave in the centre of the reserve, which during nineteenth century archaeological excavations yielded Stone Age tools and the fossil remains of Ice Age animals which can be seen in The Royal Institution in Swansea.

Weasel Elliot Smith

Weasel Elliot Smith

Parts of the cliffs closest to the sea in the south east corner of the reserve have been quarried for limestone, which was burned in the adjacent limekiln, the ruin of whichis still visible, to provide lime for spreading on fields further inland.

The reserve displays a very clear difference in vegetation between the deeper cliff top soils which support Gorse scrub and heath and the thinner soils of the slopes, cliffs and scree with limestone grassland flowers. Spring brings a flush of blue to the cliffs as Spring Squill (4-5) flowers, followed by a wide range of other flowers including Bird’s-foot Trefoil (6-9), Kidney Vetch (5-7), and the nationally scarce Portland Spurge (5-9).

Weasel is often seen hunting for Rabbits or Voles along the boundary walls.

A PDF of this leaflet it available

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 164 Gower. Main entrance: SS455852, Site centre: SS450850

Status Part of the South Gower Coast SSSI, which in turn is part of the European Natura 2000 site, the Limestone Sea Cliffs of South West Wales SAC. The reserve contains a Scheduled Ancient Monument and the western half of the site is registered common land, being manorial waste, and has been declared open access.

Tenure The Trust purchased this site in September 1970 with financial help from B.P. Chemicals plc.

Size 20.7 ha (50.2 acres).

Location and Access Notes

1 km west of the village of Overton, adjacent to Overton Cliff nature reserve. Access is from the track that leads westward from the village of Overton, or from the path leading through Overton Cliff. Not accessible to wheelchairs.

Public Transport
Bus numbers 117, 118, 115 and 21a from Swansea Quadrant Bus Station to Overton village.

Long Hole Cliff Map

Deborah’s Hole, Pilton, Gower, Swansea

Description: Sea cliff, calcareous grassland, and heath.

Deborah’s Hole is named after a small inaccessible cave which during archaeological excavations in the nineteenth century yielded Stone Age tools, which are to be seen in the Royal Institution in Swansea.

Common Thyme Philip Precey

Common Thyme Philip Precey

The reserve has been partially surface quarried for limestone either as building stone for walls or for burning to produce lime for agricultural fields. This has left a broken surface and varied soil depth which has not allowed subsequent agricultural improvement, as has occurred on the cliff top of Horse Cliff, immediately to the east.

The vegetation ranges from limestone grassland with Common Rock-rose (5-9), the nationally scarce Spring Cinquefoil (4), Squinancywort (6-7), and Thyme (5-8) on the thinner soils through to heathland supporting Bell Heather (7-9) together with Gorse and Hawthorn scrub. The reserve also has nesting Rock Pipit, and Linnet, with Fulmar and Raven nesting upon adjacent cliffs. The Hornet Robberfly has been seen in early autumn.

This reserve allows good views of the Knave, a small offshore stack with attendant Cormorants and Shags, and on a clear day, Lundy Island can been seen out in the Bristol Channel.

A PDF version of this leaflet is available

 

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 164 Gower. Site centre: SS435862

Status Part of the South Gower Coast SSSI, which in turn is part of the European Natura 2000 site, the Limestone Sea Cliffs of South West Wales SAC.

Tenure The reserve was purchased by the Trust in July 1972 with financial assistance from Marks and Spencers plc.

Size 6.7 ha (16.5 acres).

Location and Access Notes

2 km east of Rhossili, 3 km west of Port Eynon. Access to the Deborah’s Hole nature reserve can be gained from the public footpath leading south to the coastline from Kimerley Moor, or via the Rhossili to Port Eynon coastal footpath. Not accessible to wheelchairs.

Public transport

Bus number 118 from Swansea Quadrant Bus Station to Rhossili.

Deborah's Hole Map