SCA 17 – Outer Swansea Bay

Summary description 

This area is located offshore south of the Gower and Swansea Bay, extending out into the middle of the Bristol Channel. It is medium depth sloping from 20m to 30m deep with a gravelly sand seafloor with low wave energy and strong currents.

Key characteristics

  • Open sea extending from west of Scarweather Sands to the middle of the Bristol Channel with medium depth water between 20m and 30m deep with a seabed of gravelly sand.
  • Generally low wave energy but strong tidal currents keep sediment in suspension.
  • Forms part of the approaches to Swansea Bay and its various ports and harbours, with several holding anchorages.
  • Wrecks mainly relate to ships travelling to or from the ports, either foundering or through enemy action in the World Wars.
  • Sea with simple, open characteristics at a vast scale dominated by swell, waves and winds with a sense of remoteness increasing to the south.
  • Contributes to open sea views from Swansea Bay and southern Gower.
  • The key visible coastal features are Cefn Bryn to the north, the South Wales coalfield plateau to the north east and Lundy and the North Devon coast to the south.
  • Tranquillity will be reduced by commercial shipping.

Forces for change

These can be divided into:

  • Natural processes
  • Recreational pressure
  • Commercial and leisure fishing
  • Offshore energy or minerals
  • MOD use

Initial thoughts are:

Sediment transport along and around the coast.

An offshore windfarm in the Bristol Channel Round 3 licensed area would change the feeling of remoteness and would affect and block views to Lundy and the North Devon coast.