Kilvey Hill

Protecting Swansea’s east flank, Kilvey Hill is 193 metres high and affords views of the Bridgend – Mumbles coastline to the south. The historic Welsh name of the hill is Y Bigwrn, with its summit known as Pen y Bigwrn, but it is generally known as Mynydd Cilfái, a translation of the English name.

There are a number of residential areas dotted around the base of the hill. To the north are Bon-y-maen and Pentrechwyth. To the south are Dan-y-graigPort Tennant and St. Thomas. At the top of the hill is the TV and radio transmitter station and a telecommunications mast. The central belt of the hill consists of woodland and open grassland, which forms part of the Kilvey Community Woodland. The hill hosts a number of mountain biking events, and walking up it provides good exercise as an end in itself, but there is nothing there but masts, some litter and views.

In short, there is litle reason to go there. There are rumours of a plan to build a ski lift to carry tourists to the top, but there is no reason for tourists to stop off and make that journey when the Gower coastline is so close at hand: you’d have to hunt them down and drug them before they’d become amenable to being hoisted up to a 193m high waste land.

On the other hand, it might prove an attractive, isolated location for a Welsh ISIS training camp, though the risks to young jihadis of the nearby dangerous Bon-y-Maen settlement would probably undermine the feasibility of even that.

Not far from Kilvey Hill, though, is Crymlyn Bog, a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest of international significance.

Map of crymlyn bog

The bog comprises swampscarr (fen), water meadows and tall reed beds and waterlogged scrub where wetter areas merge with woodland.

The plants in the bog are more typical of those in East Anglia some of them, such as slender cotton grass and lesser water plantain, quite rare and, in 2003, surveys identified the area as one of only three locations in the UK at which the fen raft spider is found. 

I’ve not seen them yet but Wikipedia describes the site as a haven for birds; predatory visitors like the hen harrierbuzzardhobby and the occasional marsh harrier visit the site regularly. It also accommodates a range of wetland birds like the bitternwater railsedge and reed warblersbearded tit and grey heron. It’s currently closed (Covid overkill) but there is a visitor centre in the bog which can provide more details.