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Exploring common land at Pennard

A clifftop view of Pwlldu Bay, looking east along the Pennard coastline on the Gower Peninsula, Swansea. The sea is crashing against the cliffs below.
A view of Pwlldu Bay, Gower Peninsula | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

Pennard Cliffs is an area of spectacular scenery and designated as common land near Southgate, Swansea. Take a walk on the common and discover wildlife in Gower’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

History of common land

Common land is an area of land where people, other than the owner, have traditional rights to graze their animals. Commons themselves pre-date parliament, dating back to times where land was often wild and ownerless, a legacy of the manorial system.

The original Commons Act dates to 1285, now refined under the Commons Act of 2006 with all commons registered with records held locally by the County Council. Around 12 per cent of land in Wales is designated as common land, over 8,500 separate commons.

A cow is grazing on the Pennard Cliffs on the Gower Peninsula. A beach tucked into a cove can be seen below.
A cow grazing on the Pennard Cliffs | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Our role on the common

We look after over 3km of land stretching from Pwlldu to Three Cliffs Bay and over 1700 hectares of common land in Gower.

Common land in Gower

Over half of the land in Gower is designated as common land, collectively one of the most important areas of lowland heath in Wales. Throughout the country groups of commoners work together and in Gower, they have formed the Gower Commons Association.

Commons Code

A project supporting the Gower Commons was established with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 1998 which produced the Commons Code, an asset to support people to get the most out of their visit to Gower.

Wildlife on the common

Commons have become very important areas for wildlife and nature conservation, as almost all support semi-natural vegetation.

The cliff faces at Pennard are very important areas for wildlife, Gower is the only place in the UK where you’ll find Yellow Whitlow Grass growing. Chough inhabit the cliffs and benefit from grazed pasture in the surrounding area.

The area designated as part of Gower’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it’s also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

This means that animals, such as cattle and sheep have rights to roam freely around the common at Pennard.

A view looking east along the Pennard coastline with the sun breaking through the clouds, Wales

Discover more at Pennard, Pwll Du and Bishopston Valley

Find out how to get to Pennard, Pwll Du and Bishopston Valley, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

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