- Swansea Bay
Swansea Bay (Welsh: "Bae Abertawe") is an bay on the
Bristol Channelon the South Walescoast. Places on the bay include Mumbles, Swanseaand Port Talbot. The River Neath, River Tawe, River Afanand Blackpill stream flow into the bay.
Swansea Bay (and all of the upper reaches of the
Bristol Channel) experiences one of the largest tidal ranges in the world with a maximum range of about 10 m. [ [http://tallyho.bc.nu/~steve/tides.html Swansea Bay and Gower Tides] ]
Oysterfishing was once an important industry in Swansea Bay, employing 600 people at its height in the 1860s. However, overfishing, diseaseand pollutionhad all but wiped out the oyster population by 1920. In 2005 plans were announced to reintroduce the industry. [cite web
title=Bay plans oyster trade revival
The bay is lined with sandy
beaches. Each stretch of beach within the bay has its own individual name:
*Jersey Marine Beach
wansea Bay beach
Swansea Bay is the 5 mile stretch of sandy beach between Swansea Docks and the Knab Rock near
Mumbles. It is backed by a cycle/pedestrian track (part of National Cycle Route 4) and a coastal road. Urban and suburban areas of Swansea lie just inland of the road.
In recent years, tourism has provided a boost to the local economy. Swansea Bay itself was popular in Victorian times and in the early part of the 20th century. However, despite having
dunes and golden sands over a large section of the Bay all the way from the mouth of the River Neath to Blackpill, with the exception of the Swansea Docksbreakwater, it now rarely hosts more than a few hundred visitors on even the best day, even in the height of summer and has seen little of the tourist boom. Ironically in the last ten years or so, with the reduction in pollution (see below) has come an increase in the amount of sand on the lower stretches of the Bay at low tide which were once almost pure mud flats.
In an attempt to popularise the Bay, in late February 2007, Swansea Council announced plans for a major revamp of the entire Bay from The Slip all the way round to
Mumbles Pier. These include new toilets at The Slip, further improvements to the St. Helens Ground, housing on part of the Recreation Ground, a new 'Extreme Sports' Centre at Sketty Lane, further improvements at the popular BlackpillLido including a new cycle and pedestrian bridge linking the coast path to the Clyne Valley Cycle Path, a multi-story car parkat MumblesQuarry and mixed development at OystermouthSquare and improvements to the Mumbles Pier.
For the last two decades of the 20th century, the bay was blighted by pollution, partly from the surrounding heavy industry and partly from
sewerageoutlets being sited at inappropriate locations including the main one that was located just seaward of Mumbles Lighthouse. A pumping station inside the cliff adjacent to Knab Rock brought all of Swansea city's effluent in a raw form to this point. Adding to the problem was the natural current flow of the waters in the Bay which often did not move the polluted waters further out to sea. Ironically, the outgoing tide did not carry the raw sewage "down" the adjacent Bristol Channel, but instead cause it to be sucked "in" around the circumference of the Bay and only then out down the Channel. If not fully discharged on that tide, the incoming tide would then push the same effluent up the Channel, and once again circulate around the Bay. Efforts were made by the local authority to reduce the pollution in the Bay but care had to be taken to ensure the pollution did not move to the popular beach resorts in south Gower instead.
This original sewer outlet was finally made inactive in around 1996 following the construction of a brand new pipeline which ran all the way back around the Bay following the line of the old
Mumbles Railwayas far as Beach Street, along the sea-side of the Maritime Quarterand through Swansea Docksto a new £90 million sewerage treatment plant at Crymlyn Burrowsnear Port Tennantfrom which a new outlet was made, extending further out to sea. As a consequence of the huge improvement these works have made, it is hoped that Swansea Bay will achieve Blue Flag Beachstatus sometime in the latter half of the millennium decade. Aberavon beach was awarded Blue Flag status in December 2007. [http://www.newswales.co.uk/?section=Environment&F=1&id=12706]
There is a gas-fired power station located just inland at Baglan Bay. A new
biomasspower station has been approved for construction near the coast at Port Talbot.
Swansea Bay (along with the rest of the UK) has one of the highest tidal ranges in the world. This offers a potential for electricity generation using tidal lagoons. A proposal has been put forward by
Tidal Electricfor a tidal lagoon to be constructued. [source: http://www.tidalelectric.com/Projects%20UK.htm] The tidal lagoon would be sited about a mile offshore and would be about 5 square kilometres in size.
In addition to tidal power, construction of an offshore windfarm in the Bay has been approved, [source: http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/contentlookup.cfm?ucidparam=20041005181339] but construction has now been deferred owing to the costs involved. The windfarm was to have been sited at Scarweather Sands, about three miles off the coast and visible from
* [http://www.onebiggarden.com/Region/Swansea_Bay-R2-1.aspx1 Swansea Bay] Official site from South West Wales Tourist Board
* [http://www.explore-gower.co.uk/Content/pid=57.html Swansea Bay: Explore Gower]
* [http://www.wda.co.uk/index.cfm/wda_home/swansea_bay_partnership/en4241 The Swansea Bay partnership]
* [http://www.visitswanseabay.com Visit Swansea Bay]
* [http://www.goweruk.com/Beach.aspx?id=1 An interactive, social networking and tourism web site based on the Gower peninsula.]
* [http://www.forces-of-nature.co.uk/dbdriven/beachguide/beachguide.php?action=display_location&loc_id=33 Forces of Nature: Swansea Bay: Beach Information]
* [http://www.thegowercoast.com/beaches/swansea_bay Swansea Bay]
* [http://www.mumblesmatters.org.uk/~images/tidal-lagoon-presentation.pdf Tidal Lagoon Presentation]
* [http://www.geograph.org.uk/search.php?i=2733555 www.geograph.co.uk : photos of Swanse Bay and surrounding area]
* [http://new.wales.gov.uk/dpsp/wsp/1909654/549512/549520/1230422/WSP(SB-O)07-05_Convergence_1.doc?lang=en Swansea Bay: The Waterfront and Western Valleys]
* [http://www.wefo.wales.gov.uk/resource/SustainableRegeneration_SwanseaBay8912.pdf Sustainable Regeneration Framework Swansea Bay: The Waterfront and Western Valleys Spatial Plan Area]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.