Allt-yr-yn, or ‘hillside of ash trees’, is one of Newport’s two Local Nature Reserves, designated in 1994 and lies between the Monmouthshire-Brecon Canal and Allt-yr-Yn View, NP20 5EH. OS Grid Ref: ST 300 889.
It occupies the 32 acre site of the former Allt-yr-yn House and lido, and an old stone quarry. The lido has been turned into one of the ponds and only a few stones of the house remain.
Areas of the woodland have been identified as ancient semi-natural woodland, meaning that it has been continuously covered with native trees since the 1600s, making it particularly important for wildlife.
The reserve is free to visit and open to visitors all year.
Maintenance many mean that access is sometimes restricted, please pay attention to and follow any signs.
A number of paths and bridleways cross the reserve and are often uneven and muddy, so please wear suitable footwear.
The reserve can also be accessed from Brickyard Lane, off Highcross Road.
NB: there is no parking at Brickyard Lane, please park at the top and walk down.
For a longer walk, Allt-yr-yn is also directly linked to the Fourteen Locks Canal Centre by footpath and bridleway.
Although there is a small car park at the bottom of the lane off Allt-yr-yn View you may find it easier to park on the road and walk down the bridleway.
Bus service N3 travels along Allt-yr-yn View and Allt-yr-yn Road every hour.
What to see
The commonest local tree is ash with native birch, cherry and oak and the smaller hazel and hawthorn beneath.
There are some particularly large horse chestnut and sycamore trees, which have been introduced.
On the woodland floor, spring flowers such as bluebells, wood anemone and lesser celandine abound and in the autumn the woodland is rich in fungi and the trees change through a range of colours.
The woodland is home to nearly 50 different species of bird, and 7 mammal species have been recorded on the reserve, along with newts, frogs and grass snakes.
The reserve also includes a five acre ancient meadow, which is managed in the traditional way to support wildflowers such as common spotted orchid and yellow rattle which cover the ground in summer.
The three ponds in the reserve are known to be used by kingfishers, and at dusk bats use them to hunt for insects above the surface.
The meadow and ponds are all intersected by a number of footpaths and bridleways.
If you are visiting in the spring, head to the woodland for some spring flowers and birdsong and see if there is any frogspawn or tadpoles in the ponds.
In the summer, enjoy the display of wildflowers and butterflies in the meadow, and in the autumn, the woodland is again a good place to head for fungi and autumn colours.
Don’t forget the winter! Woodlands in the winter can be great places to spot birds.
Deciduous woodland – the woodland here is quite diverse and you will see ash, birch, cherry and oak, along with the huge horse chestnut and sycamore trees and flowers including lesser celandine, wood anemone and bluebell.
Neutral grassland – the five acre ancient meadow is rich in wildflowers such as devil’s bit scabious and yellow rattle, which cover the ground in early summer.
Ponds and streams – three ponds connected by streams make good otter habitat as well as good fishing for kingfishers. Sit and watch for a while to see what you can spot.
Orchids – the orchids in the meadow are pretty special, visit in June or July for the best display.
Allt-yr-yn is a very suitable education site, having a range of different habitats on one site and a log circle in the woodland, with a fire pit. Newport City Council runs free environmental education sessions for Newport schools at the reserve, and schools and other groups can visit independently, with prior arrangement with the council.
Please respect other users of the reserve when you are there.
The paths are often uneven and muddy so please take care and wear suitable footwear.
There are footpaths and bridleways around the reserve, please respect other users when walking or riding on the site.
Ponds can be dangerous places and care should always be taken when near them, particularly with children.
Woodlands can be dangerous places in high winds due to falling branches.