Thursday, 26 February 2015

THE LOUGHOR ESTUARY AND SALT MARSHES



The north coast of the Gower Peninsula largely consists of an expanse of salt marshes which, while bleak in nature, provides an ideal environment for the production of the highly prized lamb from the sheep grazing here.  There is an abundance of nourishment from the plants growing in the marshes: Samphire, Sorrel, Sea lavender and Thrift.  The salt marshes stretch westwards from Crofty and are fringed by a number of villages.  Penclawdd and Crofty are known for their cockle industry, which dates back to Roman times.  Penclawdd was once a thriving sea port exporting copper goods, coal and seafood, and there used to be coal mines in the area.  Salthouse Point is a man-made area which formerly played a role in the area's shipping history, and later formed part of an army practice range.  Now the Point is an important wildlife habitat.  

Towards the western end of the salt marshes is the village of Llanrhidian, which offers wonderful views over the marshes.  There are similarly impressive views from Llanmadoc further west, while down below is the Whiteford National Nature Reserve where, in addition to a variety of wildlife, there are wildflowers and orchids for botany enthusiasts.  Between Llanrhidian and Llanmadoc is Weobley Castle, a fortified manor house which dates from the 13th century and which belonged to the de la Bere family until the 15th century.  The castle offers one of the best views of the marshlands and mudflats.    

Map of the area. 

File:The salt marshes below Weobley castle - geograph.org.uk - 1311232.jpg
The salt marshes from Weobley Castle. Photo by ceridwen, via Wikimedia Commons

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