Gower peninsula

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The Gower Peninsula (Welsh: Penrhyn Gŵyr) is a peninsula on the south west coast of Wales, on the north side of the Bristol Channel in the southwest of the historic county of Glamorgan. Referred to colloquially as 'the Gower', this was the first area in the United Kingdom to be designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1956. Gower was part of the ancient lordship of Gower, and today it is part of the City and County of Swansea.

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History

Following the Norman invasion of Wales, the commote of Gŵyr passed into English hands, the southern part eventually becoming heavily anglicised. Rhys Gryg of Deheubarth occupied the peninsula in 1215, but in 1220 he ceded the area to the English, apparently on the orders of his overlord, Llywelyn ap Iorwerth. Thereafter Gower remained largely beyond the reach of Llywelyn's successors as Prince of Wales, though the peninsula suffered at the hands of Rhys ap Maredudd during his revolt of 1287-8.

The Act of Union (1535) made the Lordship of Gower part of the historic county of Glamorgan, and the southwestern section became the hundred of Swansea.

In modern times, the Gower Peninsula was administered as a Rural District of Glamorgan, which merged with the county borough of Swansea in 1974 to form the Swansea district.[1] Since 1996, Gower has been part of the City and County of Swansea.

Geography

Situated in south west Wales, about 70 square miles (180 km2) in area, Gower is known for its coastline, popular with walkers and outdoor enthusiasts, especially surfers. Gower has many caves, including Paviland Cave and Minchin Hole Cave. The peninsula is bounded by the Loughor Estuary to the north and Swansea Bay to the east. Gower Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty covers 188 km² including most of the peninsula west of Crofty, Three Crosses, Upper Killay, Blackpill and Bishopston.[2] The highest point on the Gower Peninsula is The Beacon at Rhossili Down at 193m/633 ft overlooking Rhossili Bay.[3] Pwll Du and the Bishopton Valley is a statutory Local Nature Reserve. [4]

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