Newport Wetlands

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Newport Wetlands
Wlyptiroedd Casnewydd
The Visitors Centre at Newport Wetlands Centre.JPG
Wetlands visitor centre, West Nash, Newport
Newport Wetlands is located in Wales
Newport Wetlands
TypeNational nature reserve
Nearest cityNewport, Wales
Coordinates51°32′46″N 2°57′40″W / 51.546°N 2.961°W / 51.546; -2.961Coordinates: 51°32′46″N 2°57′40″W / 51.546°N 2.961°W / 51.546; -2.961
Area437 hectares (1,080 acres)
Created2000 (2000)
Operated by

Newport Wetlands is a wildlife reserve covering parts of Uskmouth, Nash and Goldcliff, in the south-east of the city of Newport, South Wales.


The reserve was established in 2000 to mitigate losses of wildlife habitat when the Cardiff Bay Barrage scheme was undertaken.

The site is owned and managed by Natural Resources Wales, the successor body to the Countryside Council for Wales. A purpose-built visitor and education centre for the site was opened, in West Nash, in March 2008 by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) with help from Newport City Council and water level management assistance by Caldicot and Wentloog Levels Internal Drainage Board.[1]

The reserve covers 437 hectares (1,080 acres)[2] of the Caldicot Level, a low-lying area of land bordering the northern shore of the Severn Estuary. Part of the site is a reclaimed fuel ash disposal site, although some farmland in Goldcliff and Nash has also had to be flooded to complete the work.

The reserve was made a national nature reserve on 16 April 2008.[3]


Map of Newport Wetlands RSPB Reserve
Newport Wetlands RSPB Reserve car park

Entrance is free, with car parking facilities open every day of the year from 8:30 am until 5:30 pm. The visitor and education centre opening hours are 9:00 am until 5:00 pm (except Christmas day).[4]

Dogs and cyclists are permitted outside the visitor centre and along a specially marked six-kilometre (3.7 mi) circular route around the reserve's perimeter.

Habitats and species[edit]

The reserve includes a wide variety of habitats which include grazed pasture with hedgerows, ditches, reens, reed beds and grasslands. These help to attract breeding birds such as lapwings, redshanks, oystercatchers, little ringed plovers and ringed plovers, as well as visitors such as wigeon, shovellers, teal, shelduck and pintails, bitterns, hen harriers and short-eared owls.

In January 2012 two rarely seen glossy ibises were sighted near Boat Road at Goldcliff.[5]

Comprehensive observation data for the region can be obtained from, and submitted at eBird.

Visitor centre[edit]

The visitor centre provides a shop, refreshments, bathroom facilities, viewing facilities and guided tours.[6]

Newport Wetlands RSPB Reserve visitor centre entrance

Picnic and play area[edit]

The picnic and play area situated next to the visitor centre provides a children's play area, education zone, and benches for picnics. It is surrounded by wetlands and reed beds, home to many resident and migratory birds.

Newport Wetlands RSPB Reserve picnic area


Past the picnic and play area is a hill, which continues directly ahead south towards the floating walkway and lighthouse (see below). Three lagoons are located on the top of the hill, immediately before approaching the floating walkway. These are R5, R6 (fully viewable from two fenced overpasses on the hill) and R8 (partially viewable from a fenced overpass on the hill but best viewed from the woodland trail viewpoint).

Approaching hill at Newport Wetlands RSPB Reserve

Floating walkway[edit]

A new feature part of the reserve's development was an artificial floating walkway, which provides a direct route to the lighthouse over lagoon R7. This lagoon is part of a series of a total of three lagoons spanning the coastal path (east to west). The most eastward lagoon (R9) is overlooked by the bird hide in addition to being viewable from a fenced overpass (currently closed for the stated reason of protecting wildlife), and the most westwardly lagoon (R4) is viewable from a fenced overpass.

Floating walkway facing northwards

Estuary trail[edit]

The far end of the trail faces south towards the Severn Estuary, along which the East Usk Lighthouse is situated at and the bird hide lies at the end of.

View of Severn Estuary from Newport Wetlands
View of the Severn Estuary from the sea-wall at Newport Wetlands

East Usk Lighthouse[edit]

East Usk Lighthouse
East Usk Lighthouse 2012-02-12 Crop.jpg
East Usk lighthouse, near Perry Lane, West Nash, Newport
Newport Wetlands is located in Wales
Newport Wetlands
United Kingdom
Coordinates51°32′24″N 2°58′01″W / 51.54000°N 2.96696°W / 51.54000; -2.96696
Year first constructed1893
Constructioncast iron tower
Tower shapecylindrical tower with balcony and lantern
Markings / patternwhite tower and lantern
Tower height13 metres (43 ft)
Focal height11 metres (36 ft)
Light sourcemains power
CharacteristicFl (2) WRG 10s.
Admiralty numberA5454
NGA number5904
ARLHS numberWAL-005
Managing agentNewport Harbour Commissioners[7] [8]

The East Usk Lighthouse is within the reserve on the estuary trail facing towards the Severn Estuary. It is a basic lamphousing with no accommodation. The more substantial decommissioned West Usk Lighthouse, currently operating as a hotel, is on the opposite (west) bank of the River Usk and can be viewed from the reserve.

Bird hide[edit]

The bird hide is located on the far side of the trail and provides shelter for up-close viewing of birds on one of the trail's many lagoons (R9).

Cycling and dog walking path[edit]

The cycling (and dog walking) route is accessed via a path next to the car park exit. Initially heading west, the 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) circular route follows alongside the power station then turns to the east past the East Usk Lighthouse and along the Severn Estuary (Wales Coast Path). After dropping below the sea wall the path splits, with a pedestrian and dog walking route returning to the visitor centre via a marked path to the left. A longer pedestrian and cycling route continues forwards towards Goldcliff village and the local road network.

Woodland trail[edit]

The woodland trail is entered by turning left at the top of the hill. The trail travels past neighboring farmland, through the reserve's woodlands, past a lagoon viewing platform and bird hide, and onto the estuary trail.

Woodland trail viewpoint[edit]

A notable feature of the reserve, which may be missed by the hurried explorer, is the viewing platform overlooking lagoon R8. It is located in a relatively secluded area of the reserve, found by turning right before leaving the woodland trail when heading southwards towards the bird hide/estuary trail.


  1. ^ C&WLIDB News Article
  2. ^ Newport Wetlands at
  3. ^ CCW press release
  4. ^ The RSPB: About Newport Wetlands
  5. ^ "Sightings" at
  6. ^ The RSPB: Newport Wetlands: Facilities
  7. ^ East Usk The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 3 June 2016
  8. ^ East Usk Light Lighthouse Explorer. Retrieved 3 June 2016

External links[edit]