Work to be carried out on castle after concern over visitors scaling the walls
Richard Youle, local democracy reporter
A castle’s walls are to be strengthened due to concerns that visitors have been scaling them.
The “undesirable behaviour” relates to Pennard Castle, which overlooks Three Cliffs Bay on the Gower peninsula. The castle is a listed scheduled monument and dates from the early 12th Century.
A Swansea Council report said it was one of the most instantly recognisable images of Gower and received high numbers of visitors, particularly so in 2020.
The report added: “Undesirable visitor behaviour – including climbing on the castle walls and illicit fires within the castle walls – is a cause for concern for the scheduled monument condition.”
But action is to be taken as the castle is one of five projects in the Gower Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which will be funded by two Welsh Government grants worth £325,000.
The council’s natural environment team will coordinate the projects, including improvements to Pennard Castle’s physical condition, new interpretation signs, and upgrades to footpaths around it.
Another of the projects aims to reverse the deterioration of Fairwood Common and its diverse habitats. The report said the 524-hectare common suffered from a lack of grazing and resulting increase in scrub cover and loss of biodiversity.
Some of the funding will pay for ongoing upgrades to Clyne Valley Country Park, including measures to control the spread of rhododendron and Japanese knotweed.
The grants will also fund small-scale upgrades in Port Eynon and adjacent Horton, which are hugely popular spots in the summer but suffer from congestion and inadequate toilets. The council is working on a longer-term project to enhance the area which could involve new buildings, but it remains early days and no planning applications have been submitted.
The final element of the funding will improve pedestrian access and signs between Reynoldston and Cefn Bryn, which overlooks it. Last year off-road parking was closed off at the summit of Cefn Bryn, meaning more people are now parking in Reynoldston and walking up there.
Cefn Bryn is home to a neolithic burial ground, known as Arthur’s Stone, and has far-reaching views in every direction.
Council cabinet members will hear more about the projects at a meeting on June 17, and are likely to formally accept the two grants.