Llanmadoc Hill and Tankey Lake Moor

Llanmadoc Hill

Characteristics of Llanmadoc Hill and Tankey Lake


Llanmadoc Hill and Tankey Lake Moor’s habitats include patches of dry heath and acid grassland. There is a flat area of bracken and an estuary.


The geology of the area comprises Permo-Triassic and Devonian reddish conglomerate and sandstone overlain by humo-ferric podzols of the Goldstone association.

These are well-drained, very acid, very stony, sandy soils with a bleached subsurface horizon over conglomerate, and less acid and less stony coarse loamy soils over sandstone.


Plants growing on Llanmadoc Hill and Tankey Lake Moor include bristle bent grass (Agrostis curtisii), ling (Calluna vulgaris), bell heather (Erica cinnerea), Western gorse (Ulex gallii) and European gorse (Ulex europaeus).

Meadow ants and green tiger beetle are two of the insects which have been recorded in the area.

Bird species such as stonechat, reed bunting, yellowhammer, skylark and swallow can all be found here.

The mammals which make their homes here include the terrestrial shrew, brown hare and fox.

Management and Commons use

The bracken on the flat land of Tankey Lake Moor has been managed since 2000.

In some places the bracken had grown to a height of six feet. Bracken bruisers were used to suppress the plants’ growth. This management was so effective in reducing the size and vigour of the plants that new methods are now having to be used on much smaller plants.

Cockles have been gathered for thousands of years in the estuary and traditional methods of collection are still used. Pairs of people, usually women, work together. One person scrapes up the sand into a large sieve and the other uses this to filter out the cockles. The only change these days is that the mesh size ensures that only the larger cockles of about five years old are caught. The young ones are left to sustain the industry for the future generations. There is no waste as the cockle shells are ground down and used in chicken feed or to surface paths.

History and Archaeology

There are 20 identified sites of archaeological interest on these commons including:

  • 14 Bronze Age cairns
  • Neolithic, Bronze Age and Roman finds
  • Earthworks, enclosures and ditches built by the Bronze Age Beaker people
  • The Bulwark Iron Age hillfort (Scheduled Monument 61)
  • In the Story of Gower, the Bulwark occupants are reported to have fought the opposing occupants of the Hardings Down. During this bloody battle it is said that the blood flowed over the warriors’ boots. Their leader, Tonkin, was killed, which gave the area its name, Tankey (or Tonkin) Lake.

210.5 ha

Within Gower Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
Within West Gower landscape which is included in the Register of Landscapes of Outstanding Historic Interest in Wales (CCW/CADW: Welsh Historic Monuments/ICOMOS UK 1998, 53-56)
Scheduled Monument (SM): The Bulwark Iron Age Hillfort
Llanmadoc Hill is a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC)
Common land


Further information and walks