Bristol Channel

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**Geography and Ecology**:
– The Bristol Channel separates South Wales from South West England.
– Extends from Severn Estuary to the North Atlantic Ocean.
– Features cliffs, beaches, sand dunes, and intertidal mudflats.
– Important area for wildlife, especially waders.
– Protected areas like Bridgwater Bay.
– Largest islands include Lundy, Steep Holm, and Flat Holm.
– Rich marine habitats with rare species.

**Coastal Cities and Navigation**:
– Swansea is the largest settlement on the Welsh coast.
– Major areas include Barry, Port Talbot, and Llanelli.
– Resort towns like Porthcawl, Mumbles, and Tenby.
– English side features Weston-super-Mare, Burnham-on-Sea, and more.
– Bristol is a significant port city on the Severn Estuary.
– No road or rail crossings, direct crossings by sea or air.
– Hazardous due to strong tides and lack of safe havens.
– Pilotage essential for shipping safety.
– Bristol Channel Pilot Cutter developed for the area.
– Treacherous waters require caution and specialized knowledge.

**Maritime History and Activities**:
– P & A Campbell operated paddle steamers along both coasts.
– Barry Railway Company also involved in operating pleasure craft.
– John Ashley initiated the Bristol Channel Mission in 1835.
– Tradition of paddle steamers lasted from the 19th century to late 1970s.
– Adam Cowles made the first known windsurfing crossing in 2006.
– Various individuals have attempted and achieved swims across the Channel.
– Records and achievements in swimming across the Bristol Channel.

**Renewable Energy and Environmental Conservation**:
– Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary have high potential for renewable electricity generation in the UK.
– Contribution to UK climate change goals and EU renewable energy targets.
– Severn Tidal Power Feasibility Study launched in 2008 by British Government.
– Lundy Island Marine Nature Reserve established for marine protection.
– Lundy Marine Conservation Zone for biodiversity conservation.
– Burnham-On-Sea Area Rescue Boat for coastal safety.
– RNLI Portishead providing lifeboat services.
– Severn Tidal Power project for sustainable energy generation.

**Recreation and Cultural References**:
Surfing areas like Vale of Glamorgan, Bideford Bay, and Gower.
Walking destinations with National trails like South West Coast Path and Pembrokeshire Coast Path.
– First Person to Swim Across Bristol Channel: Kathleen Thomas in 1927.
– Youngest Person to Swim Across Bristol Channel: Edith Parnell in 1929 at 16 years old.
– Book ‘Wonder Girls’ by Catherine Jones.
– Getty Images archive of Bristol Channel-related content.
– Mention of the Bristol Channel in various cultural and literary works.

Bristol Channel (Wikipedia)

The Bristol Channel (Welsh: Môr Hafren, literal translation: "Severn Sea") is a major inlet in the island of Great Britain, separating South Wales (from Pembrokeshire to the Vale of Glamorgan) and South West England (from Devon, Somerset to North Somerset). It extends from the smaller Severn Estuary of the River Severn (Welsh: Afon Hafren) to the North Atlantic Ocean. It takes its name from the English city and port of Bristol.

Sunrise viewed from Minehead, showing Steep Holm and Brean Down

Long stretches of both sides of the coastline are designated as Heritage Coast. These include Exmoor, Bideford Bay, the Hartland Point peninsula, Lundy Island, Glamorgan, Gower Peninsula, Carmarthenshire, South Pembrokeshire and Caldey Island.

Until Tudor times the Bristol Channel was known as the Severn Sea, and it is still known as this in both Welsh: Môr Hafren and Cornish: Mor Havren.

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