Awards and Achievements

The work of The Gower Society has been recognised, both locally and nationally, over the years. It is, after all, one of the first established and largest of all local amenity societies – and all run by volunteers, committee members and many others who are not on the committee.

In 1979, we were awarded The Prince of Wales Award for conservation work carried out on Port Eynon sand dunes.

In 1994, we were awarded a further Prince of Wales Award for our educational and conservation work

The Prince of Wales’ Trust judges concluded that the Gower Society ‘richly merits an award to recognise the important work they are doing in both the conservation and educational field. Their level of work and commitment is extremely high and is a model, probably unique in Wales and possibly further afield, of how a local society can both protect and enhance our heritage.’

The Gower Society was an inaugural member of the National Association of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Each year since 1999, that Association has awarded a prestigious annual award known as The Bowland Award which is given for ‘the best project, best practice or outstanding contribution to the wellbeing of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. The decision is reached after voting by all the constituent AONBs.

In 2011, which was the International Year of Volunteering, its award was for ‘voluntary work at a local level that could be used by the AONB Family to deliver at a landscape scale nationally’.

Voting overwhelmingly gave The Bowland Award to The Gower Society in 2011 which had the distinction of holding this prestigious award (an arresting bronze of a hen harrier in flight) for 2011-2012.

In 2012, The Chairman of The Gower Society was honoured by the award of an MBE recognising his contribution to communities in Swansea, especially his work with this Society. Our former Honorary Archaeologist was similarly honoured, in 1998, for his work for The Gower Society and local history; and our former Honorary Historian and a former President were both awarded the distinction of knighthoods.

More than sixty years of achievement – a Summary of The Gower Society’s work over the years:

1947 First minuted meeting, when a group of researchers formerly known as the Gowermen were converted into a Public Society
1948 Inauguration of the Society at a lecture on Gower at the R.I.S.W. (Museum)
Campaigned for the upkeep of Oystermouth Castle
Prevented Butlin-type holiday camp at Rhossili
First edition of Journal Gower was produced, as was a Footpath Map for Gower by Stephen Lee
1949 Started campaign to prevent Oxwich Castle being demolished to six feet
Started opposition to firing range at Penclawdd
Phil Tanner, folk singer, made an Honorary Life Member
1950 Oxwich Castle saved
Ensured that historic features of Cross Keys Inn, Swansea were safeguarded
Campaigned against bad housing design on Gower
1951 Published Gower Gleanings by H.M. Tucker of Overton
Organised a Gower exhibition at Swansea Museum for the Festival of Britain
Part-funded purchase of Bishopston Valley by The National Trust
Campaigned against sub-urbanisation of rural Gower
Published a special map of Gower (in sepia) by Robert May to sell at 4d
1952 Prevented clear-felling of much of Oxwich Woodlands including Nicholaston-Crawley Woods
Stepped up campaign for AONB designation for Gower
Published A Portrait of Gower by Evans and Gwent
1953 Continued to oppose tree-felling
Prevented setting up of Artillery Range on 7,300 acres at Salthouse Point
Fought off plans for entertainment park at Port Eynon
1954 Started fight to preserve commoners’ rights at Fairwood
Geographia map of Gower (approved by the Society) was published
1955 Prevented radar station with 450 ft. steel masts being built on Rhossili Down
Fairwood Airport Act named Society as important signatory
Further Swansea Castle repairs urged
Society re-launched Gower Protection Fund
1956 Gower designated AONB no. 1
Thwarted ‘unhealthy interest’ by Gower Beauty Parks Development Company for ‘entertainments’ at Oxwich, Horton & Port Eynon
1957 Prevented permanent ammunition dump on Mumbles Head
Campaigned to stop demolition of Swansea Castle; Swansea Castle Defence Committee formed
1958 Published a Caravans in Gower booklet
1959 Published Ten Walks in Gower by Morris and Lee
1960 As part of the Gower Defence Union, resisted commercialisation of Gower bays
First Gower warden appointed
1961 Campaigned to get Pennard Castle repair underway
1962 Published The Plant Life of Gower by G. Goodman
1963 Ensured, and largely paid for, restoration of Pennard Castle
Purchased land between Port Eynon Point & Overton Cliff for Wildlife Trust
Published Swansea Bay to Worms Head
1964 Opposed the Sharp plan to treble the size of Port Eynon / Horton
1965 Published A Guide to Gower
Society unveiled memorial stone to Gwent Jones and Stephen Lee
1966 Lobbied to get Oystermouth Castle restored and re-opened
Worked tirelessly to register Gower Commons
1967 Lobbied to get sand which had been taken from the Oxwich sand dunes, replaced
1968 Helped to purchase Gelli Hir Wood for Wildlife Trust
Opposed Rhossili cliff railway to beach
Objected to car parks at Cefn Bryn and Broadpool for 1,000 cars
1969 Objected to plans for six foot high chain link fence on west side of Cefn Bryn
Objected to continuing car parking on Rhossili raised beach
Opposed shooting range at Pembrey
First registered as a charity
1970 Published The Castles of Gower by Grenfell and Morris
1971 Opposed development on 150 acres of Clyne Common
Published The Caves of Gower by Grenfell and Morris
1972 Opposed plans for 128 chalets in Stembridge Valley and also to further plans for development on Clyne Common
1973 Opposed holiday camp plans for Ilston Valley
1974 Society made a further donation to Enterprise Neptune
1975 Published Gower Yarns by Cyril Gwynn
1976 Objected to plans for a children’s zoo and red deer breeding concern at Rhossili rectory
1978 Continued to fight local authority plans for Fairwood Airport
1979 Prince of Wales Award for conservation work on Port Eynon dunes
Society planted replacement trees at end of Vennaway Lane
1980 Article 4 Directive came into force for AONB area
1981 Contributed to N.T. purchase of Coastguard Cottages at Rhossili
Published The Sea Beneath My Feet by Mansel Thomas
Published Noteworthy Gower Churches by Toft and Grenfell
1982 Society gave further grant to N.T. for Rhossili
1984/5 Fought Council’s attempt to extinguish rights / clauses of the Fairwood Airport Act
1985 Helped to purchase Overton Mere for Wildlife Trust
1986 Helped to purchase raised beach at Rhossili for the N.T.
1987 Published Sketches in Gower as part of the Society’s 40th birthday celebrations
1988 Campaigned to get replacement electricity lines underground
1989 Helped to purchase Common Wood, Llanrhidian for the Woodland Trust
1990 First expressed concern at dredging at Helwick Bank
Gave a donation towards restoration of the J.D. Davies memorial stone
Campaigned against neglect of The Salthouse, Port Eynon
Contributed to Operation Fig Leaf to replace local storm-damaged trees
1991 Published Gower Walks by Ruth Ridge
Took Counsel’s advice again re Airport development proposals
1992 First expressed concern at Mynydd y Gwair wind turbine proposals
1993 Donated money towards information panels for The Salthouse, Port Eynon and towards restoration at Cheriton Church
1994 Awarded Prince of Wales Award for educational / conservation work etc
Took Counsel’s advice yet again re proposed development at the Airport
1995 Expressed concern at the state of Whiteford Lighthouse
Organised and held Conference on AONBs The Way Ahead and published report on it
1996 Began campaign to save Whiteford Lighthouse
Following the Society’s success, the L.A. held its own Conference on AONBs, leading to the formation of the National Association of AONBs
Concern expressed at noise pollution
1998 The Society exhibition A Snapshot in Time toured locally
H.R.H. The Prince of Wales inaugurated The Gower Way
Published Old Gower Farmhouses and their Families by Bernard Morris
Started new Oral History Project
Presented replica set of bones of the Red Lady of Paviland to Swansea Museum
1999 Published a colour edition of A Guide to Gower
2000 Published the Gabriel Powell Survey of Gower 1764 prepared by B.Morris
Published The Butterflies of Gower by Stewart & Grenfell
Gower Commons initiative started work on Gower Commons, with some grant-aid from the Society
2002 Gower Society Youth Action started
Began major sponsorship of The Gower Show
2003 Published Vernacular Gower
Joined the Lord Mayor’s Design Awards by sponsoring an annual Gower Vernacular Award
Grant-aided the production of a CD of Phil Tanner’s folk-songs
2004 The Gower Way route completed on the ground
Inaugurated the Society’s own Design Awards for sympathetic Gower design
Grant-aided reflective cattle collars as part of the Gower Commons Initiative
2005 Published a colour edition of The Castles of Gower
Began campaign to extend AONB into Upland Gower
2006 Played a major role in the Helwick bank sand dredging Public Inquiry
Protested against Cefn Gwrhyd wind farm development
Commenced twice-yearly aerial surveys over Gower
Participated in the Golden Gower exhibition at the R.I.S.W.
NAAONB Annual Conference held in Swansea
Published a colour edition of The Caves of Gower
2007 Involved in L.A. discussions regarding restoration of Oystermouth Castle
Published Swansea Bay-The Coastal Route
Published The Churches and Chapels of Gower
Published Gower in Focus by H. Grenfell
Took part in the Commons Registration Inquiry
2008 Published Edgar Evans of Gower by G. Gregor
Lord Mayor hosted reception for Society to mark its 60th anniversary
Published The First Sixty Years to mark the anniversary
Responded to draft AONB Lighting Guide consultation
Grant-aided N.T. Culver Hole restoration and work by C.C.W. at Oxwich
2009 Took part in 2 caravan site Public Inquiries
Published a revised edition of Rhossili by Robert Lucas
2010 Concluded 2nd caravan site Public Inquiry
Took part in Mynydd y Gwair wind turbine Public Inquiry
Six Society nominations on Gower were awarded The Civic Trust for Wales Design Award
Responded to WAG Planning Enforcement System procedures consultation
Grant-aided coastal FP re-alignment at Slade
First opposed the Atlantic Array wind farm in the Bristol Channel
Continued to campaign against inappropriate signage in the AONB
2011 Published a series of cards depicting Edward & Iris Martin designs
Sent in responses to 147 proposed LDP Candidate Sites
Responded to Draft Design Guide
Opposed Mumbles Headland development
Awarded the Bowland Award by NAAONBs
Published DVD Walking with Flowers
2012 Supported Jubilee tree planting on Gower
Society is an active participant in the Gower Landscape Partnership
Society involved in filming of a BBC 4-part series on Gower
Society is represented at Jubilee royal visit to Margam Park
Chairman is awarded MBE for ‘services to community in Swansea’