A sunny Friday afternoon was the opportunity for a walk, and for partner Mike to mark off another section of the Coastal Path as “done”. The coast near Newport was the target and we walked across Great Traston meadows and the Newport Wetlands National Nature Reserve to the East Usk Lighthouse.
This is strongly recommended if you appreciate pylons as art deco designs because there is a power station nearby. Modern renewables are in view too, with turbines popping their blades over the skyline. Mostly, birds and wildlife are promoted – I like technology too.
We did have to brave a busy road through Pye Corner with uneven verges to get to the footpaths and nature reserves. Off the road, it was all bird-song and well-made bridges across the ditches or reens that drain the meadows.
We could see the church spire at Nash dwarfed by pylons, and the path passed near the pub, then over another reedy meadow and this wide ditch, Skinner’s Reen. (A reen is called a rhyne or rhine in Somerset and Gloucestershire – it’s a ditch or canal to drain wetlands in order to make useful pasture.)
The Newport Wetlands have walkways made of flexible rubber matting which lay on the water, bringing the walker close to the wildlife.
We stopped at the Newport Wetlands RSPB Visitor Centre for a welcome cuppa (excellent brew) and also found out that the local buses now run only twice a day and are “on demand” meaning that they have to be booked a day ahead. No wonder the carparks are busy.
We finally got to the coast by the lighthouse, built in 1893 to mark the entrance to the river Usk. This used to appear higher, but has “sunk” as the ground became built up by ash from the power station.
The reserve has visitor friendly walks for all abilities and wheelchairs, and there is plenty of information and signs, including carved and metal birds on the ground or posts. I wasn’t sure if how they enforce a sign pointing to an area for black-tailed godwits if the godwits decide to go somewhere else.
The wild forest of pylons – taller ones and squatter ones, marching off into the distance – led us past the power station and back onto the paths leading into the city.
Coastal Path maps can be downloaded free from http://www.walescoastpath.gov.uk/plan-your-trip/free-coast-path-maps/?lang=en