Llanrhidian Marsh, Gower
Llanrhidian Marsh is one of the best examples of coastal saltmarsh in Britain. It stretches along most of Gower’s north coast, in contrast to the beaches and coves of the south coast. Its habitats and species are internationally important, and it’s part of a Special Area of Conservation, a Special Protection Area and a Ramsar Site.
Species such as curlew, little egret and shelduck can be seen across the marsh, as well as birds of prey including osprey, hen harrier and merlin. In winter, the marsh is home to large numbers of overwintering birds such as dunlin, teal and red knot; some species travel thousands of miles from the Baltic, Siberia and the Arctic. The elusive otter and water vole have also been seen here.
The marsh is common land and sheep have been grazed there for hundreds of years, feeding on species such as samphire, sorrel, sea lavender and thrift, giving the meat a special flavour. In September 1903 T John of Tycoed Farm and a nephew went out to the marsh to rescue sheep during a storm which caused damage across the region. They became surrounded by the tide. Mr Gordon of Weobley Castle threw them a rope and they were rescued “with the greatest of difficulty”. Several sheep drowned.
In 2021 Gower Salt Marsh Lamb, produced at Weobley Castle Farm, was granted UK Geographical Indication, marking and protecting its authenticity and origin. It was the first food to receive the protected status after the end of the UK’s transition period out of EU membership.
The ruins of Weobley Castle overlook the marsh.