SCA 19 – Bristol Channel – offshore

Summary description 

This large area is located offshore on the south western fringes of the Gower, extending out into the middle of the Bristol Channel. It is medium depth sloping from 30m to 50m deep with a gravel seafloor with high wave energy and strong currents.

Key characteristics

  • Open sea extending from Helwick Sands to the middle of the Bristol Channel with medium depth water between 30m and 50m deep with a mixed seabed of ridges and channels and gravel extending west.
  • Generally high wave energy and strong tidal currents.
  • Single known wreck site of a large intact steamship, the Fagernes.
  • Provides relatively ‘hazard free’ sailing south of Helwick Sands and the southern part is a busy shipping lane up the Bristol Channel.
  • 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 strongly to open sea views from south western Gower.
  • The key visible coastal features are Rhossili Down and Cefn Bryn to the north 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:

Longshore transport of sediment in the Bristol Channel.

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.