Swansea Council has secured £350,000 of Welsh Government grants to help protect Gower’s natural beauty at some of the region’s most scenic locations like Clyne Valley, Pennard Castle and Fairwood Common.
At the same time some of the money will be going to help manage the pressure of visitor numbers on locations like the Blue Flag beach at Port Eynon and nearby Horton.
David Hopkins, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Delivery and Operations, said there is already feasibility work underway to develop improved and more resilient visitor facilities at Port Eynon.
It’s proposed the latest grants from Welsh Government totalling £75,000 for Port Eynon and Horton are aimed at upgrading facilities such as car parks, toilets and recycling stations at each location to ease the pressure at the height of the summer season.
Cllr Hopkins said: “The Gower AONB is the greatest natural asset we have. As a council we’ve been there supporting local businesses and the natural environment through the pandemic.
“Now, as we emerge from the pandemic, the grants we’ve secured will help us protect natural habitats and tackle invasive non-local species like Japanese knotweed. The grants will also help us manage the return of visitors and staycationers while protecting and promoting the environment they’ve come to experience.”
Apart from the Port Eynon and Horton improvements, £50,000 each has been earmarked for projects on Fairwood Common and Clyne Valley Country Park.
At the park some of the money will be used to control invasive non-native species like Rhododendron and knotweed in a bid to restore wildlife habitats and encourage local flora and fauna to flourish.
Working alongside Pennard Golf Club, which owns and cares for Pennard Castle, the council aims to spend £30,000 on improving the condition of the iconic location, access and way-marking to routes around the castle, events and interpretation facilities.
At the same time £20,000 has been earmarked to improve footpath and way-marking links between Reynoldston and Cefn Bryn for visitors wanting to visit and find out more about Cefn Bryn Common and its famous Arthur’s Stone, a Neolithic burial chamber.
In addition to these initiatives, the Welsh Government support includes a £100,000 Sustainable Development Fund that the Gower AONB Partnership grants to local projects that promote and protect the area.
Cllr Hopkins said: “Alongside the Rural Development Programme and community crowdsourcing initiatives like the ‘two-minute’ litter clean stations at beach locations like Swansea Bay, Port Eynon and Langland, there’s a real sense of everyone coming together to make the most of our natural environment and protect the AONB for future generations.
“As the summer season starts in earnest this latest round of grants from Welsh Government is a real boost.”
The proposals for spending the Welsh Government grant will be considered by Cabinet at its meeting on June 17.
(Lead image: Swansea Council)