Newport Wetlands National Nature Reserve

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Welcome

Tucked between the city of Newport and the Severn estuary, Newport Wetlands National Nature Reserve is one of the best sites in the country for viewing bird life and the visitor facilities here allow you to do just that.

The reserve is part of the Gwent Levels and is made up of a diverse range of low-lying habitats, including wet grassland, reedbeds, saltmarsh and saline lagoons.

There is a seven kilometre network of re-surfaced paths around the Uskmouth reedbeds, viewing screens across the deepwater channels, a raised viewing platform and bird hide.

A floating pontoon forms a direct route to the East Usk Lighthouse which is over 120 years old.

Walking trails

All of the walking trails are waymarked.

Please note: dogs on a short lead are welcome on the Green Lanes and Coast Walk only.

Orchid Trail

1 mile/1.6 kilometre, accessible

Look out for orchids in late spring and early summer.

Sculpture Trail

1 mile/1.7 kilometres, accessible

Go through reedbeds, over the floating bridge and past the lighthouse.

Woodland and Estuary Trail

1½ miles/2.3 kilometres, accessible

Go through reedbeds, woodland, past open water and the estuary.

The Wetlands Experience

2½ miles/4 kilometres, accessible

This route combines the orchid trail, the woodland and estuary trail and part of the Wales Coast Path.

Green Lanes and Coast Walk

3¾ miles/5.9 kilometres, easy

Highlights include the East Usk Lighthouse, views over the Severn Estuary as far as Exmoor, bird-hide, and green lanes (Fish-house Lane can be very muddy in winter or after heavy rain).

Dogs on a short lead are welcome on this walk.

RSPB Visitor Centre and visitor facilities

Newport Wetlands is a partnership between Natural Resources Wales, Newport City Council and the RSPB.

The RSPB manage the Environmental Education and Visitor Centre which has a café, shop and toilets.

The RSPB run events from family fun days to guided walks - booking is essential for some events.

To find out more about the visitor facilities:

What to see on the National Nature Reserve

Newport Wetlands is a National Nature Reserve.

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

The landscape and wildlife varies depending on which time of year you visit – here’s what to look out for.

Spring

In spring, the reedbeds are alive with song. Warblers abound here, including a significant proportion of Britain’s Cetti’s warblers.

Scan the pools from one of the viewing platforms and you should also see mute swans, tufted ducks, coot and families of little grebe.

Look out for displaying lapwing and avocet and listen for the song of warbler species and skylarks.

Over on the saline lagoons, you may see migrant wader species.

At this time of year, visitors with young children enjoy spotting ducklings and chicks all around the reserve.

Summer

In summer, you will be able to enjoy the reserve’s plant life in all its glory.

Orchids are abundant, look out for the rarer shrill carder bee amongst the everlasting pea flowers.

Walk over to the saline lagoons and you will encounter a quite different habitat. This is the only breeding site in Wales for the avocet, a long-legged wading bird with a distinctive upwardly curving beak.

In the warmer months, the hay meadows around the reserve are rich in wild flowers.

If you make your way along the paths around the reedbeds, look out for orchids, dragonflies, hobbies and shrill carder bees.

As dusk falls, barn owls come out to hunt over the grasslands.

Autumn

Autumn is the best time of year for birdwatching at Newport Wetlands when migratory wildfowl and wading birds begin to arrive.

Watch migrant wader species on the saline lagoons and the starling roost on the reedbed. 

Flocks of redwing and fieldfare are busy feeding on the hedgerows along the Wales Coast Path which passes along the edge of the reserve.

Winter

In winter there are the largest flocks of birds - look out for merlin and peregrine falcons when the lapwing flock is startled.

Look out for big flocks of wigeon, teal, dunlin and lapwing.

In the wide open skies above the reserve you are likely to see hunting birds of prey such as peregrine, merlin and marsh harriers.

National Nature Reserves in Wales

There are over 70 National Nature Reserves in Wales.

Find out more about National Nature Reserves.

Visiting safely

We want you to return home safely after your visit here.

You are responsible for your own safety as well as the safety of any children and animals with you during your visit.

Please note:

  • Livestock graze parts of the reserve – do not approach or try to feed.
  • Keep dogs on a short lead and please shut gates behind you.
  • Mudflats and saltmarsh are regularly covered by tides.
  • Deep water in ditches – please keep to the paths.
  • Steep slopes on the sea-wall – please keep away.
  • High-voltage overhead power lines.

For advice and tips to help you plan your visit here go to Visiting our places safely.

Accessibility information

All of paths around the Uskmouth reedbeds are accessible to wheelchairs and there are benches approximately every 200 metres.

The paths are level with some gentle slopes and a zig-zag ramp to climb the five metres up to the raised reedbed levels.

Facilities include:

  • parking for Blue Badge holders
  • wheelchair access to the visitor centre and café
  • accessible toilets
  • three electric mobility scooters to hire, free of charge (contact the RSPB centre to book tel: 01633 636363)
  • viewing screens and a hide with wheelchair spaces

Dog restrictions

Dogs on a short lead are welcome on the Green Lanes and Coast Walk only.

Opening times

For current opening times, please contact the RSPB.

Changes to trails

See the top of this webpage for details of any planned closures or other changes to the trails here.

For your safety, always follow instructions from staff and signs including those for trail diversions or closures.

We may divert or close trails whilst we undertake maintenance work or other operations and we may need to close other visitor facilities temporarily.

In extreme weather, we may close facilities at short notice due to the risk of injury to visitors and staff.

How to get here

Location

Newport Wetlands National Nature Reserve is five miles south of the city of Newport.

It is in the county of Newport.

Ordnance Survey map

Newport Wetlands National Nature Reserve is on Ordnance Survey (OS) map 152.

The OS grid reference is ST 334 834.

Satellite navigation (sat nav)

The post code for sat nav is NP18 2BZ.

Directions

From M4 Junction 24: take the A48 west and then follow the brown duck signs to the Newport Wetlands National Nature Reserve car park.

From M4 Junction 28: take the A48 east and then follow the brown duck signs.

The car park is on the West Nash road, just before the entrance to the Uskmouth Power Station.

Sustrans National Cycle Route

Sustrans National Cycle Route 4 has a branch to Newport Wetlands using cycle paths and quiet roads. T

here is a covered cycle stand in the car park and a cycle stand at the entrance to the visitor centre.

Public transport

There is a demand responsive bus service to Newport Wetlands.

Ring 01633 21120 to book a bus by 5pm on the day before you wish to travel.

The nearest train station is in Newport.

For details of public transport visit the Traveline Cymru website.

Parking

The car park is managed by the RSPB.

Car parking costs £4 (free for RSPB members).

Related document downloads

Other places in South East Wales

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