The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust Ltd.

Character Areas


074 Fairwood Common

Photo of Fairwood Common

HLCA074 Fairwood Common

Unenclosed common land: WWII features; post-medieval industrial features; communication routes; and water features. Back to Map

Historic Background

The historic landscape area of Fairwood Common equates to the extent of unenclosed common land known as Fairwood Common, surrounding what is now known as Swansea International Airport.

This is an area of unenclosed common of upland nature including areas of unmanaged scrub. The current boundaries of the common appear to have been formed following encroachment in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries with the establishment of surrounding farms. The only major change to occur to the extent of the area was the creation of Fairwood Common aerodrome in 1940. During the Second World War the area was extensively used for decoy purposes, in an attempt to draw enemy attacks away from Fairwood Common aerodrome (Swansea Airport) and from the city of Swansea. This evidence is based on aerial photographic material of the period, a number of beacons being noted across the common.

Small gravel pits on the common and coal pits on the periphery were operated from at least the eighteenth century. Little is known of the area's buried archaeological resource, however evidence from the adjacent aerodrome (HLCA 075) indicates activity during the Bronze Age, specifically funerary and ritual; further archaeological survey is therefore required.