Newport Wetlands reserve
This reserve at the mouth of the river Usk was created in the late 1990s, and officially opened in 2000, to compensate for loss of extensive mudflats with the completion of the Cardiff Bay barrage. The tidal mud around the mouths of the rivers Ely and Taff provided valuable feeding grounds for wading birds.
The reserve covers 4.38 sq km (438 hectares) and provides a variety of habitats including reedbeds, saltmarsh, saline lagoons and lowland wet grassland. In 2008 it was designated a National Nature Reserve, a mark of the reserve’s maturity and value as wildlife habitat.
Great crested newts, a protected species, are among the residents. Bird species seen at the reserve at various times of the year include bearded tit, lapwing, dunlin, avocet, little grebe, shoveler and little egret, a species which did not appear in significant numbers in Britain until 1988. A lone bittern – a rare and shy species bird – has been spotted at the reserve most winters since 2001. Hares and otters are also seen.
The reserve is managed by the Countryside Council for Wales, Newport City Council and the RSPB. Entry is free. The 6km of paths also provide visitor access to East Usk lighthouse, built in 1893.
Postcode: NP18 2BZ
Grid reference: ST334834