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Coed y Cerrig National Nature Reserve, near Abergavenny

Small woodland big on variety with accessible boardwalk

Bluebells by path in woodland

What's here

Accessible Trail
Dogs welcome
Walking trail

Coronavirus update


All Natural Resources Wales (NRW) car parks, play areas and toilet blocks in the reserves, woods and forests are closed from 23 March 2020.


For more information see our main page on coronavirus.


Lying in a small deep valley shaped by glaciers, Coed y Cerrig National Nature Reserve is hidden away in the southern part of the Black Mountains in the Brecon Beacons National Park.

There is a boardwalk suitable for wheelchairs that takes you through the wet woodland, just over the road from the small car park, and a steep circular route through the woodland on the side of the valley.

The road that passes the reserve was once a busy railway line, carrying men and materials to build the Grwyne Fawr reservoir nine miles away.

Small woodland big on variety

There are three distinct types of woodland here:

  • A wet alder woodland covers the moist valley floor. The alders used to be coppiced (cut to nearly ground level and then allowed to regrow) to make charcoal and soles for clogs
  • A mixed woodland of birch, ash and hazel clings to the drier steep valley sides
  • An oak and beech woodland grows in the more level ground with deeper, drier soils at the top of the reserve

Seasonal highlights


Look out for showy marsh marigolds in the wet valley bottom and the delicate pink ‘umbrellas’ of valerian growing along the boardwalk.

Spot the striking pink pyramidal flowers of early purple orchids and the colourless and strange toothwort plant which lives parasitically on the roots of other plants like hazel and elm.

Enjoy the swathe of fragrant bluebells along the path through the upper woodland.


Seek out the weird and wonderful bird’s nest orchid in early summer and the elegant nettle-leaved bell flower.

Watch for hovering damselflies and dragonflies and speckled wood butterflies flitting through shards of sunlight.

Listen for the trilling of a wood warbler (like a spinning coin) in the oak woodland and watch for the black and white flash of a pied-flycatcher or the colourful black, orange and grey bandit-like colouring of the male redstart.


As summer moves towards autumn, search for fungi like chanterelles especially in damp weather.

National Nature Reserve

Coed y Cerrig is a National Nature Reserve.

National Nature Reserves are places with some of the very finest examples of wildlife habitats and geological features.

There are over 70 National Nature Reserves in Wales.

Find out more about National Nature Reserves.

Walking trails

BoardwalkBoth walking trails are waymarked from the car park.

Alder Tree Boardwalk

½ mile/0.8 kilometre, accessible

The wide and level boardwalk, with passing places and wooden benches, enables you to enjoy the woodland in the wet valley bottom. You can either return along the boardwalk or do a circular walk by following a non-boardwalk section shown on the map panel in the car park.

Woodland Climb

⅓ mile/0.6 kilometre, strenuous

This short circular route climbs steeply up a series of rough stone steps, continuing through the woodland and dropping down a slope to the car park

Closures and diversions

Please note:

  • Sometimes we need to close or divert trails for your safety whilst we undertake maintenance work or other operations
  • Occasionally 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 onsite and make sure you follow any temporary diversion signs in place

How to get here

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


Take the A465 from Abergavenny towards Hereford. After 4 miles, turn left into the village of Llanfihangel Crucorney. After 500 metres, turn left onto a minor road to Llanthony. After 1¼ miles take the left fork, following the brown and white duck signs. The car park is on the right after 1¼ miles.

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.

Public transport

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

Contact details

Tel: 0300 065 3000



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