This nature reserve offers a haven for wildlife on the edge of the city, but is a great place for people too with a new RSPB visitor centre, a café, shop and children’s play area.
Cetti’s warblers and bearded tits can be seen and heard in the reedbeds, and ducks, geese and swans visit the reserve in large numbers during the winter. You’ll enjoy spectacular views of the Severn estuary all year round.
Newport Wetlands is a partnership between Natural Resources Wales, Newport City Council and the RSPB.
Open every day (closed Christmas Day), 9 am to 5 pm (Coffee Shop open 10 am to 4 pm). On Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, the centre will be open from 10 am to 4 pm and the coffee shop will be open 10 am to 3.30 pm. Please note that the carpark also closes at 5:30pm.
If you are new to birdwatching…
Autumn/winter is the best time of year for birdwatching at Newport Wetlands when migratory wildfowl and wading birds begin to arrive ready for their winter stay.
Information for families
Newport Wetlands visitor centre is ideal for children and families. Guided walks and children’s activities are available on the reserve, drinks and a bite to eat can be enjoyed in the coffee shop afterwards, followed by a browse in the retail area. Children will find the outdoor children’s activity area with its 4 m high simulation of the East Usk Lighthouse very entertaining. We can offer a variety of fun environmental activity and exploration days for a wide range of local interest groups.
Information for dog owners
Some access for dogs – marked footpaths on perimeter of reserve. For more information, please contact the NRW enquiry line.
Our star species are some of the most interesting birds you may see on your visit to the reserve.
You will often hear bearded tits before you see them. Listen for their bell-like ‘pinging’ calls, then watch them whizzing across the tops of the reeds. They perch up on the stems in calm weather and feed on fallen seeds on the mud at the base of the reeds.
Dunlins can be seen at Newport Wetlands at almost any time. They breed further north, including in the Arctic, but migrating birds pass through in spring and autumn and some also spend winter here. Watch for them probing their beaks into the mud as they feed.
These dainty little white herons can be seen throughout the year at Newport. You can see them fishing, stirring up fish fry from the muddy bottom with their feet.
Listen for little grebes ‘whinnying’ in spring as part of their courtship displays. They are small, round birds, and remarkably buoyant despite their fluffy feathers.
Shovelers are commonest here in winter, but are also a regular breeding bird. Watch them using their beaks like sieves to sift out microscopic aquatic life from the water.
Each season brings a different experience at our nature reserves. In spring, the air is filled with birdsong as they compete to establish territories and attract a mate. In summer, look out for young birds making their first venture into the outside world. Autumn brings large movements of migrating birds – some heading south to a warmer climate, others seeking refuge in the UK from the cold Arctic winter. In winter, look out for large flocks of birds gathering to feed, or flying at dusk to form large roosts to keep warm.
Spring is the start of the breeding season and is an active and exciting time of year at Newport Wetlands, as birds set about finding their mates and building nests. Breeding waders at the reserve include lapwings and oystercatchers. Bearded tits begin to nest in the reedbeds. During late April and early May, swallows and swifts begin arriving from Africa, and can be seen flying overhead. This is a great time of year to listen out for the distinctive call of the cuckoo and many plants, including orchids, will begin to burst into colourful flower.
Grass snakes can sometimes be seen soaking up the sun or skimming expertly through the water among the reeds. Around sixteen species of dragonflies, twenty-three species of butterfly and two hundred species of moth are found at Newport Wetlands. After dark is the best time for moth spotting, but visitors are likely to see species like cinnabar moths and scarlet tiger moths during the daytime. The reserve is also home to badgers, moles and wood mice. Otters live here too, but are notoriously shy of humans and can be difficult to spot. Their droppings, or ‘spraint’, are the most commonly spotted clue to their presence.
In autumn, the reeds turn from a vibrant lush green to yellowing brown. Groups of goldfinches can be seen flitting around the reserve and are particularly visible along Perry Lane, using their long beaks to extract seeds from the teasels. Autumn is another extremely active season at Newport Wetlands, as migratory wildfowl and wading birds begin to arrive ready for their winter stay. Curlews, redshanks, dunlins and oystercatchers feed on the estuary at low tide using their long, pointy beaks to sift through the nutritious mud for worms and grubs.
The starling roost at the reserve is a not-to-be-missed wildlife experience. From October onwards, large groups of starlings gather at dusk in great black clouds. At its peak, around 50,000 birds swoop and soar overhead, chattering noisily. After a breathtaking display, the birds drop dramatically into the reedbeds where they settle for the night. Another winter treat at Newport Wetlands is a single bittern, which has been seen here most winters since 2001. Bitterns are rare and extremely secretive, moving silently through the reeds looking for fish. Parts of the reserve provide a winter home for nationally important numbers of black-tailed godwits, shovelers and dunlins.
Group bookings accepted
Guided walks available
Good for walking
Viewing screens are available.
There are a number of nature trails around the reserve of various lengths with easy accessibility for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
Coffee shop serving triple-certified organic Fairtrade coffee, fairtrade tea, Fairtrade hot chocolate, and a selection of organic cold drinks, sandwiches, baguettes, locally-produced cakes and cookies.
A retail outlet for all your bird food and bird care accessories with a wide selection of binoculars and telescopes. There is also a fantastic selection of gifts and children’s items.
The shop stocks:
Binoculars and telescopes
Our cafe in the visitor centre has large, panoramic windows overlooking the reserve and surrounding countryside. There is a large outdoor decking area providing additional seating with the same relaxing views. We provide organic Fairtrade tea and hot chocolate, and locally-produced cakes and ice cream.
We serve our own exclusive coffee that is grown, imported and roasted by us. It’s Fairtrade, organic and certified bird-friendly by the Smithsonian Institute, so now you can help save nature simply by enjoying a great cup of coffee!
We are proud to hold a Level 5 Food Hygiene rating enabling our customers to have full confidence in the food and service that we provide.
10 am to 4 pm daily (closed Christmas Day)
Highlights from our menu
Triple-certified coffee including cappuccinos, lattes and Americanos, all freshly-made
We are known for our Bara Brith, Welsh cakes and hot toasted teacakes
From autumn through to spring we sell steaming tasty soups which are gluten-free
We provide a variety of sandwiches and rolls made with bread from a family baker
Pole-and-line-caught skipjack tuna is used to fill delicious sandwiches or rolls
Good variety of sandwiches and cakes. Coffee excellent
Access to the cafe
The coffee shop is in the visitor centre which has wheelchair-friendly ramps into the centre and out onto the reserve.
There are highchairs for babies and toddlers. We provide children’s lunchboxes containing a sandwich, two-finger Kitkat, apple or orange juice and a choice of wildlife face mask.
We use local ingredients
We use Welsh meats, cheeses and free-range organic eggs.
We sell vegetarian and vegan food, some wheat-free snacks and soup, and some organic food.
8 August 2013
This is a Summary Access Statement. A full access statement is available to download from this page.
Before you visit
Clear print site leaflet available from reception
Visitor Centre open 9 am to 5 pm daily, except Christmas Day. coffee shop open 10 am to 4 pm
Entry to the reserve is free of charge
Car park open 8.30 am to 5.30 pm daily
Three mobility scooters and two wheelchairs available to hire out free of charge. Telephone for details
Registered assistance dogs welcome (please do not be offended if we ask for evidence of registration)
A dog walking route map is available from the visitor centre. Tethering rings and drinking bowl at the visitor centre entrance
Check events and activities for accessibility,
How to get here
Newport Railway Station (5 miles/8 km). Taxis usually available
Bus stop in the reserve car park, Number 63
Free parking, 180 m/197 yds from the visitor centre
10 blue badge spaces
85 parking spaces
Drop-off at visitor centre arranged by telephone 01633 636363
Tarmac surface, path to visitor centre compacted limestone chippings and dust
Visitor centre and shop
Entrance by wooden walkway with a maximum gradient of 1:40. Manually operated doors. Non-slip tiled surface. Low section on service counter. Hearing loop system is installed at the service counter and in the education rooms. Good natural and artificial lighting. Staff can give assistance and read out any literature if required. Binoculars are available for hire (£3.50 for the day).
Four main trails. All level on compacted with one incline using a zig-zag. Floating walkways have been used by wheelchairs, scooters and pushchairs but caution should be taken due to buoyancy.
Natural viewing opportunities throughout the reserve. A wheelchair accessible viewing screens overlooking the reedbeds.
Unisex accessible toilet along with separate ladies and gents available on ground floor of Visitor Centre. Level step free access. Baby changing table and a second baby facility in ladies toilets.
Step-free level access. Outside deck viewing area. Tables are well spaced apart. Good natural and overhead lighting. Non slip tiles. Accessible WC in the visitor centre.
Shop is located in the visitor centre. Level entry step free with no doors. There is step free, level access throughout. Non-slip tiled surface. Ample room. Well lit with daylight and fluorescent lighting. Promotional video usually playing with subtitles. Staff can provide assistance.
Two classrooms available as one room if required. Step-free, level access throughout. Non-slip flooring. Artificial even lighting. Portable hearing loop system available. Two raised ponds nearby.
Four picnic tables with wheelchair access outside visitor centre. Visitors free to bring their own refreshments for picnics.
Help us improve accessibility by sending feedback to the Site Manager.
For more information
How to get here
By bicycle (Sustrans cycle route)
Sustrans National Cycle Network route 4 has a branch to Newport Wetlands using existing roads. The car park has a covered cycle stand. Please note that cycling on the reserve is restricted to a designated route.
The nearest railway station is Newport – which is five miles from the reserve. There is a taxi rank at the station and Newport bus station is just a few minutes walk away. For train times to and from Newport visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or telephone 08457 484950.
From the Kingsway Bus Station in Newport, the Number 63 bus leaves at 7.30 am, 9 am, 11 am, 1.30 pm, 3 pm, 4.50 pm and 6 pm and stops at the bus stop in the reserve car park. Alternatively, contact Newport Bus 01633 670563.
Join the A48 at either junction 24 or 28 of the M4. Follow the A48 until you come to the Spytty Retail Park roundabout. Exit onto the A4810 Queensway Meadows. At the first roundabout take the third exit onto Meadows Road and follow the brown tourist signs to the reserve.
The Newport Wetlands project is funded by the European Union’s Objective Two programme supported by the Welsh Assembly Government and secured via the Newport European Partnership, Newport City Council’s allocation of the Welsh Assembly Government’s Local Regeneration Fund, Newport City Council’s Landfill Tax Credit Scheme, the Environment Agency Wales and Visit Wales – the Department of Enterprise, Innovation and Networks.
Natural Resources Wales, Newport City Council and the RSPB would like to thank the communities of Newport and the volunteers who have supported Newport Wetlands.
Newport Wetlands Conference and Meeting Rooms
Set in the tranquil surroundings of a peaceful nature reserve, our excellent conference facilities offer a superb location for a great getaway from the office and provide a wonderful setting for a variety of corporate events. You will receive a warm welcome from the staff at the Visitor Centre, providing a professional and efficient service.
We can provide facilities for the following
Rooms can be arranged in boardroom, theatre style or in any other format to suit your event. We also have a range of equipment for hire including a digital projector and smart board facilities.
Your booking fee includes free car parking, access to the Reserve as well as the Visitor Centre, Shop and Café. The Reserve comprises of a series of lagoons and reed beds from reclaimed industrial land, which is now home to a wealth of wildlife.
A tour of the Reserve can be arranged as an unusual and revitalising break during a meeting or away day.
Fairtrade coffee and tea, biscuits or homemade cakes can be served throughout the day, and we can provide a freshly prepared buffet to suit your dietary requirements including vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options. Buffets include a selection of classic sandwiches, a selection of savoury items, fresh fruit and a selection of freshly baked homemade cakes.
Alternatively, delegates can stroll across to the café themselves and appreciate inspirational views of the reserve from the veranda.
The Lakeside Suite
A purpose built meeting room, which caters for 12 people boardroom style or 25 people theatre style.
The Education Facilities
Set in a tranquil environment, overlooking the waters edge the Education Rooms offers the perfect environment for larger events and conferences. The room can be organised in various styles and caters for up to 80 people theatre style.
For more information or to make a provisional booking, please contact Adrianne Jones using the details below.
For more information