SCA 20 – Bristol Channel – south west offshore 

Summary description 

The area is located south of the Gower stretching towards the middle of the Bristol Channel with medium depth water and a gently sloping sandy seafloor with channels and ridges which are dredged. The area is a highly exposed marine environment with distant views to land. It links into SCA43 in the Pembrokeshire Coast assessment.

Key characteristics

  • Open sea in the middle of the Bristol Channel with medium depth water between 30m and 50m deep seabed of ridges and channels perpendicular to the east – west tidal currents.
  • Generally low wind stress and moderate tide speed.
  • Wrecks from foundering and World War II attacks.
  • Used for dredging with leisure sailing by larger boats and commercial craft.
  • Sea with simple, open characteristics at a vast scale dominated by swell, waves and winds with a sense of remoteness.
  • Contributes 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 dredging activity.

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 sediment drift and deposition in Bristol Channel.

Dredging modifying and disturbing seabed.

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.