Coed y Cerrig National Nature Reserve, near Abergavenny

What's here


Coed y Cerrig National Nature Reserve is in the southern part of the Black Mountains within the Brecon Beacons National Park.

There is an accessible boardwalk over the wet valley bottom and a short but steep circular climb through the woodland.

Lying in a small deep valley shaped by glaciers, this small wooded area is hidden away but the road through the reserve was once a busy railway line, carrying materials to construct the Grwyne Fawr reservoir.

A wet alder woodland covers the valley floor – these trees used to be coppiced to make charcoal and soles for clogs.

A mixed woodland, full of fragrant bluebells in spring, clings to the steep valley sides and an oak and beech woodland grows in the deeper soils at the top of the reserve.

Walking trails

The walking trails are waymarked from start to finish.

Look out for the information panel at the start of the trails.

Find out about walking trail grades.

Alder Tree Boardwalk

  • Grade: Accessible
  • Distance: ½ mile/0.6 kilometres
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Trail information: The trail starts over the road from the car park - please take care crossing the road. The wide and level boardwalk, with passing places, enables you to enjoy the wet valley bottom. You can do a circular walk by including the non-boardwalk section shown on the map. There are wooden benches along the route. There is soft mud - do not wander off the boardwalk or path.

Notice the multi-stemmed alders – evidence of ‘coppicing’ (cutting to near the base and resprouting).

In spring, look out for showy marsh marigolds and the delicate pink ‘umbrellas’ of valerian growing along boardwalk, and smell the fragrant bluebells growing along the path section.


Woodland Climb

  • Grade: Strenuous
  • Distance: ¼ mile/0.5 kilometres
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Trail information: This short circular route climbs steeply up a series of rough stone steps, continuing through the woodland and dropping off down a slope to the car park. You can also join the public footpath which continues upwards out of the reserve. 

Enjoy the swathe of bluebells along the path in spring.

What to see at the National Nature Reserve

The landscape and wildlife varies at Coed y Cerrig National Nature Reserve depending on which time of year you visit – here’s what to look out for.


  • Spot the striking pink pyramidal flowers of early purple orchids
  • Enjoy the swathe of bluebells along the path
  • Look for the colourless and strange toothwort


  • Listen for the trilling of a wood warbler (like a spinning coin)
  • Watch for the black and white flash of a pied-flycatcher
  • Be alert for the colourful black, orange and grey bandit-like colouring of the male redstart
  • Watch for hovering damselflies and dragonflies

Other wildlife to look out for

  • Catch a glimpse of a speckled wood butterfly flitting through shards of sunlight
  • Keep an eye out for the elegant nettle-leaved bell flower
  • Search for fungi like chanterelles as summer moves towards autumn, especially in damp weather
  • Seek out the weird and wonderful bird’s nest orchid in early summer

National Nature Reserves in Wales

There are over 70 National Nature Reserves in Wales.

National Nature Reserves are areas of the countryside where special examples of Britain’s habitats and wildlife are protected.

Find out more about National Nature Reserves.

Brecon Beacons National Park

Coed y Cerrig National Nature Reserve is in the Brecon Beacons National Park.

The National Park covers approximately 520 square miles of mountains and moorland in South and Mid Wales.

It is looked after by the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority.

For more information about visiting the Brecon Beacons go to the Brecon Beacons National Park website.

Accessibility information

The wide and level boardwalk is suitable for wheelchairs.

It starts just over the road from the car park and has passing places and wooden benches.

Closures and diversions

  • Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or other operations.
  • We may have to close a site in extreme weather, such as high winds or snow and ice, due to the risk of injury to visitors or staff.
  • Please always follow any instructions on site and any temporary diversion signs.  

How to get here


Coed y Cerrig National Nature Reserve is 4 miles north of Abergavenny.

It is in the county of Monmouthshire.

Ordnance Survey map

Coed y Cerrig National Nature Reserve is on Ordnance Survey (OS) map OL 13.

The OS grid reference is SO 293 211.


Take the A465 from Abergavenny towards Hereford.

After 4 miles, turn left into the village of Llanfihangel Crucorney.

After ½ mile turn left onto a minor road to Llanthony.

After 1¼ miles take the left fork, following the brown and white nature reserve signs.

The car park is on the right after 1¼ miles.

Public transport

The nearest mainline railway station is in Abergavenny.

For details of public transport visit Traveline Cymru's website.


Car parking is free of charge.

Overnight parking is not permitted.

Contact details

0300 065 3000

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