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Oxwich National Nature Reserve, near Swansea

A varied landscape and historical treasures on the Gower coast

Cowslips and Bluebells, Oxwich

Overview 

Oxwich National Nature Reserve is situated on the Gower coast, approximately 20 kilometres from Swansea.

Although it is a fairly small reserve, it offers a bewitching combination of beach, sand dunes, saltmarsh, freshwater lakes, woodland and limestone cliffs, together with all the diverse wildlife which such a range of habitats supports.

Archaeological finds and industrial remains

In one of the caves on the cliff, remains of spotted hyenas, reindeer and wolves have been found from the time of the last Ice Age.

At the top of Oxwich Wood you can explore the ramparts of a prehistoric fort.

Within the wood itself you can still see old limestone quarries, worked for the last time in the late 19th century.

Vast array of plant life

An amazing 600 species of plant have been recorded at the reserve.

In the slacks (the damp hollows between the dunes), look out for the rare dune gentian and other uncommon plants such as round-leaved wintergreen and a number of orchids.

Visiting the reserve

Parts of the reserve are open access, while other areas are open to groups by arrangement only.

The Penrice Estate owns and looks after Oxwich beach and provides the following facilities for visitors:

  • car park
  • toilets
  • two shops selling hot and cold food and drinks, ice creams, beach toys and equipment
  • the Coalhouse Restaurant which is situated on the beach 

National Nature Reserve

Oxwich is a National Nature Reserve.

National Nature Reserves are places with some of the very finest examples of wildlife habitats and geological features. 

There are over 70 National Nature Reserves in Wales.

Find out more about National Nature Reserves.

Closures and diversions

Please note:

  • Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or forest operations
  • Occasionally we may have to close a site in extreme weather, such as high winds or snow and ice due to the risk of injury to visitors or staff
  • Please always follow any instructions onsite and make sure you follow any temporary diversion signs in place

Walking trails

image of oxwich nnr beachThere is a public footpath through the part of the reserve that lies to the south of the village. Another footpath runs along the edge of the marsh.

Opening times 

The car park and toilets are owned by the Penrice Estate and are open seasonally.

The shops are open seasonally.

How to get here

Oxwich National Nature Reserve is 20 kilometres west of Swansea, just outside the village of Oxwich on the Gower. 

Download a location map.

Directions

Oxwich National Nature Reserve is situated on a minor road off the A4118. From the Penrice direction, turn left at the village crossroads opposite Woodside Cottage apartments.

The OS grid reference SS 501 865.

Car parking

The car park is owned by the Penrice Estate.

It is open between April and October.

There is a charge for parking which varies during the season.

The Estate manages the parking and access arrangements for camper vans, boats and jet skis.

Public transport

The nearest train station is in Gowerton. For details of public transport visit www.traveline.cymru

Find out more

Contact details

Tel: 0300 065 3000

Email: enquiries@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk

Related document downloads

Oxwich National Nature Reserve Location map PDF [502.5 KB]

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