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The Gower peninsula has been described as having all of Wales' geography in one place. Well, it doesn't have any mountains, but with its 70 square miles containing moorland, grassland, salt marsh, ancient woodland, mature sand dunes, craggy cliffs and freshwater rivers, it's certainly an incredibly impressive natural environment.

That was recognised in 1956 when it was declared an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is also a National Nature Reserve managed by the Countryside Council for Wales.

There's a wealth of insect life in the woodland and marshes of places like Oxwich Bay, and reptiles like grass snakes warm themselves in summer on the mature dunes. Nicholaston Woods host the likes of sparrowhawks, buzzards, woodpeckers, marsh and willow tits.

The many reed environments are an ideal habitat for reed warbler, sedge warbler and the rare Cetti's warbler. Butterflies and moths thrive with the Gower's huge range of plant life, and so do dragonflies and damselflies around ponds and lakes.

The coastline is a seabirds' paradise too, with plover, sanderling, oystercatchers, curlew and dunlin all common sights.

Suffice to say, each visit to the Gower will offer something slightly different - and with different habitats within metres of each other, the nature tourist can really get a feel for the wealth of wildlife on offer.

BBC Local


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