SCA 18 – Offshore Oxwich Point to Mumbles Head

Summary description 

This linear area is located south of the Gower coastal waters on the approaches to Swansea Bay. It is medium depth of 20-30m with a gravel seafloor and high wave energy and strong currents. The White Oyster Ledge to the east is shallower but there is a deeper water channel between this and the Mixon Shoal to the north. The area is used by leisure boats and fishing.

Key characteristics

  • Open sea extending along the south Gower just offshore from the coastal waters with medium depth waters 20-30m depth, apart from the shallows around White Oyster Ledge in the eastern part of the area, all with a seabed of gravel.
  • Generally high wave energy and strong tidal currents.
  • Wrecks, many associated with trade with Swansea but also ships lost while passing along the coast.
  • A deeper water channel and number of defined holding anchorages lie on the approaches to Swansea between the shoals of White Oyster Ledge and the Mixon Shoal to the north.
  • Used by leisure/fishing boats primarily.
  • Sea with simple, open characteristics at a vast scale dominated by swell, waves and winds with a sense of remoteness increasing to the south and west.
  • Contributes strongly to open sea views from southern Gower.
  • The key visible coastal features are Cefn Bryn and cliffs to the north, the settled hills of Langland to the north east, and the coalfield plateau to the east with Port Talbot steelworks.
  • Tranquillity is strong but reduced by visible development on the coast.

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:

Longshore transport of sediment in Bristol Channel.

Further housing of caravan/camping development on cliffs and in bays on the Gower Coast to the north would impact on views and tranquillity.

Overfishing of species such as bass around White Oyster Ledge may reduce stocks(?).