Description: Secondary mixed deciduous and wet woodland and lowland meadow.
Prior’s Wood and Meadow comprises 12.1 hectares of secondary broadleaved woodland and 5.3 hectares of meadow including some evidence of old mine workings, small spinneys, and a considerable length of hedgerow.
The woodland canopy is made up of a considerable mixture of species including Sweet Chestnut, Beech, Ash, Alder, Birch, Sessile Oak, Yew, Elm, and Small-leaved Lime. This diversity, together with cartographic evidence which shows that the site was originally called ‘Prior’s Meadow’, suggests that the woods have arisen from natural regeneration, probably aided by Victorian planting.
A variety of interesting shrub species may be found, including Eared Willow, Creeping Willow, and Alder Buckthorn. The varied ground flora is complemented by a rich mixture of ferns, bryophytes, and lichens, including Royal Fern.
Much of the wood is very damp, with two springs arising within the reserve.
The meadow slopes gently in a south easterly direction and is somewhat drier than the woodland. The turf is made up of a wide range of typical meadow plants, such as Black Knapweed (6-10), Devil’s-bit Scabious (6-10), Ragged Robin (5-8), and Yellow Rattle (6-9) together with a number of uncommon species such as Whorled Caraway (6-8). The meadow also contains a great variety of grasses and sedges, and more than 100 vascular plants have been recorded.
Grid References O.S. Explorer map 164 Gower. Main entrance: SS577936
Site centre: SS577938
Tenure Freehold purchased in March 1987 with support from the Countryside Commission, WWF and the CEGB.
Size 17.4 ha (43 acres).
Location and Access Notes
0.5 km east of Three Crosses, and 1 km west of Dunvant. Parking available on the roadside at Three Crosses. Follow the public footpath from Dukefield cul-de-sac across Fairwood Common until reaching the reserve. Not accessible to wheelchairs. There is an extensive system of permissive paths within the reserve.
Service 21 or 119 from Swansea Quadrant Bus Station to Three Crosses.