En­joy in­cred­i­ble views of the Usk Val­ley

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding -

THERE IS MUCH to dis­cover in Wentwood, the largest an­cient wood­land in Wales. Known as Coit Gwent when first men­tioned in the Book of Llandaff which, when writ­ten in the 12th Cen­tury was bound in oak cov­ers, it orig­i­nally stretched some 15 miles from the out­skirts of Newport to the Wye Val­ley. Although now vastly re­duced in size, Wentwood still ex­tends over some 2,500 acres, and so is quite easy to get lost in. De­spite dom­i­na­tion by the conifers, relics of the an­cient wood­land re­main to­gether with ev­i­dence of ear­lier ac­tiv­i­ties, sunken lanes, bound­ary banks and char­coal hearths. In 2006, Coed Cadw (the Wood­land Trust in Wales) pur­chased about a third of the wood­land, the rest be­ing owned by Nat­u­ral Re­sources Wales. Present man­age­ment is aimed at re­duc­ing in stages the conif­er­ous for­est and re­plant­ing with na­tive broad-leaves. Cadira Beeches is an ex­cel­lent place to com­mence your visit. A net­work of tracks and paths pro­vides good ac­cess, but re­mem­ber this is a pop­u­lar place for oth­ers who en­joy the coun­try­side, so ar­rive early. How­ever, do not rush away, as this is a good spot for wood­land birds, in­clud­ing that spe­cial­ist pine cone feeder, the Cross­bill. The clear-fell ar­eas are where you are most likely, at the right hour, to find both Wood­cocks and Night­jars, while nearby, adding a fur­ther di­men­sion to your visit, is Wentwood Reser­voir, with grebes and duck.

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