Penhow Woodlands National Nature Reserve, near Newport

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Welcome

Penhow Woodlands National Nature Reserve is made up of three ancient woodlands which date from before 1600.

The three woodlands cover the slopes and tops of limestone hills and are home to rare wildflowers including the native Welsh daffodil.

Coed Wen is the only one of these woodlands that is open to visitors and you can follow our waymarked circular trail to explore it.

Walking trail

The walking trail is waymarked from start to finish.

Look out for the information panel at the start of the trail.

Find out about walking trail grades.

Coed Wen Nature Trail

  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 1 mile/1.7 kilometres
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Trail information: The path is steep and uneven in places and it can be slippery under foot and muddy in wet conditions.

Follow this circular walk around the woodland – great for wildflowers in spring, summer-visiting birds, and fungi in autumn.

Other walking routes

The Langstone-Penhow Circular Walk (8.7 miles/14 kilometres) goes along the western edge of Penhow Woodlands National Nature Reserve.

There is a public footpath along the eastern edge of the woodland.

What to see on the National Nature Reserve

Penhow Woodlands 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.

Trees

The woodland has been harvested by coppicing since ancient times - cutting trees down to ground level which then produce lots of smaller stems.

Coppicing is excellent for helping a wide range of wildlife because it encourages a mix of open (glades) and shaded areas to develop.

After coppicing part of the woodland, lots of wildflowers appear – enjoying the increased light reaching the woodland floor.

Although we coppice most of the trees in a rotation, we leave some to grow into large mature trees.

The trees you will see most often are ash, wild cherry, small-leaved lime and wych elm, which all flourish on the lime-rich soils. 

Look out for some 200 year-old oaks too.

Wildflowers and fungi

Look for:

  • the cheery yellow flowers of lesser celandine from February.
  • native Welsh daffodils which can bloom as early as February and continue to the end of April depending on how warm it is. They grow to about 50cm, making them smaller than the garden variety. 
  • the rare green hellebore in early spring.
  • displays of the waving white flowers of wood anemones in March and April.
  • banks of bluebells and their distinctive scent, dotted with primroses, later in spring.
  • the weird and wonderful bird’s nest orchid in summer.
  • the delicate white flowers of the enchanter’s nightshade in summer.

Keep an eye out for rare plants like Tintern spurge and herb Paris and, as summer moves towards autumn, look out for fungi, especially in damp weather.

Wildlife

At any time of year keep an eye and ear out for:

  • jays
  • bullfinches
  • tree creepers
  • tree pipits
  • greater spotted woodpeckers
  • buzzards

In summer watch for the black and white flash of a pied-flycatcher and the colourful black, orange and grey bandit-like colouring of the male redstart.

Try to spot signs of badgers including their trails and footprints.

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.

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

Changes to visitor facilities

See the top of this webpage for details of any planned closures or other changes to visitor facilities 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

Penhow Woodlands National Nature Reserve is 8 miles north east of Newport.

It is in the county of Newport.

Ordnance Survey map

Penhow Woodlands National Nature Reserve is on Ordnance Survey (OS) map 152.

The OS grid reference is ST 415 896.

Directions

From Newport follow the M4 motorway towards Bristol.

Exit the M4 at junction 24, following signs onto the A48 towards Langstone.

At the next roundabout, continue straight over following the signs to Penhow.

After 3 miles, turn right onto Bowdens Lane next to the pub.

Continue along this singletrack road for about 1 mile and the parking area is on the left.

Public transport

The nearest mainline railway station is in Severn Tunnel Junction.

For details of public transport visit Traveline Cymru's website.

Parking

Car parking is free of charge.

Overnight parking is not permitted.

Contact details

There are no staff at this location.

Contact our customer team for general enquiries during office hours, Monday to Friday.

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