The Elizabeth and Rowe Harding Nature Reserve, Ilston, Gower, Swansea

Description: Carboniferous limestone quarry, plantation, scrub, and surrounding woodland.

KestrelThe quarry was worked until the middle of 1966, and was at a very early stage of natural colonisation, when the Trust first took it over, with flowers such as Coltsfoot and Wild Strawberry. Mixtures of trees were planted by the Trust to enhance the naturalisation of the quarry floor and spoil heaps.

The quarry face is of national geological interest, notified as an SSSI, exposing alternate beds of crinoidal limestone with clays associated with thin seams of coal, a geological exposure unique in Wales.

Kestrels have nested on the quarry face. A pool was created on the quarry floor which holds water during wet seasons, but is now a shallow moss-filled scrape. Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail can be seen along the river just outside the reserve.

Grid References O.S. Explorer map 164 Gower. Main entrance: SS555906 Site centre: SS555905

Status Geological SSSI (quarry face only).

Tenure Woodland purchased 1972, quarry area donated by Judge and Mrs Rowe Harding in 1989 following a previous lease since 1967.

Size 7.7 ha (19 acres).

Location and Access Notes
Just north of Ilston Village, Gower. The reserve is entered across a shallow ford by way of a stile, from the unclassified road leading from the North Gower Road. If the river is in spate, crossing the ford can be hazardous due to the uneven surface. Footpath entrance from the village, between the river and ‘Underwood’ house. Limited parking available by the ford. Not accessible to wheelchairs.
Even paths adjacent to the river and to the quarry face, and a steep path to the top of the quarry. For your safety, do not approach the quarry face or the edge of the quarry from the top.

Public Transport
First Cymru bus routes 118A and 118 from the Swansea Quadrant bus station pass the turn from the North Gower Road, from which you can walk the 1100 metres to the reserve.

Elizabeth and Rowe Harding NR