In 1956, the Gower Peninsula was the first area in the UK to be named as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). AONBs are protected by law to ensure conservation and enhancement of their natural beauty for present and future generations. The Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) is the statutory agency to oversee AONBs and ensure that they are successfully conserved and enhanced.
Gower has three National Nature Reserves and many Sites of Special Scientific Interest also administered by the CCW. The local authority set up and safeguards two Local Nature Reserves.
As well as the beaches for which Gower is deservedly noted, the peninsula has a whole host of equally unspoilt natural habitats that are worthy of exploration. Its acres of wood, heath, grass and marshland provide the perfect opportunity to appreciate the flora and fauna of Gower and to delight in some of its quieter, more sedate natural treasures.
To help facilitate this, and ensure that these areas are afforded the necessary protection and management to maintain these often fragile habitats, The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales has declared many of these sites as Wildlife Trust Nature Reserves.
The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, resulted from a merger between West Wales Wildlife Trust and Glamorgan Wildlife Trust in April 2002. The origins of the trust in Gower started in January 1961with the Glamorgan County Naturalists’ Trust (GCNT). When the county of Glamorgan was split into West, Mid and South, in 1984 the GCNT was renamed as the Glamorgan Trust for Nature Conservation (GTCN) and then as The Glamorgan Wildlife Trust in 1987.
The National Trust are independant from the government and operate as a charitable landowner. The trust seeks to open land to the public and protect historic buildings, gardens and monuments. The National Trust owns 4 areas of Gower: