The Gower Peninsula, near Swansea in South Wales, was the first area in the UK to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1956 for its exceptional natural landscape and breathtaking views.
The landscape of lowland common was formed through the complex interaction of geology, climate and sympathetic stewardship by successive generations of commoners.
Top image of ponies grazing on Gower Worms_Head_Gower-ponies-grazing-photo-by-Rodw published under CC3
78% of the commons as a whole are Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), making them hugely important for nature conservation locally, nationally and internationally.
Collectively, they make up one of the most significant areas of lowland heathland in the world with 4721 hectares designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).
Management of the commons is essential in order to maintain the quality of the landscape, the richness of wildlife and the opportunities for public access that exist today.
The commons are grazed by local commoners’ animals. This traditional grazing remains an essential part of the farm economy of the Gower Peninsula area, despite the practice diminishing on the rest of the UK’s commons.
“The traditional grazing of the common is so important for our community, the common and the environment, it is essential to our way of life that the practice and knowledge continues with the next generations.”
Translation from Welsh Survey of commons 2015