Enjoy incredible views of the Usk Valley
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.