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Cuhere Wood

Cuhere Wood has a rare and distinctive limestone flora. It lies in a secluded valley in a part of Monmouthshire well-known for its historical interest and natural beauty. Much of Cuhere Wood is dominated by planted conifers, but the western ten hectares is largely broad-leaved native trees. The reserve dates from 2008, when Trust took over the management of part of this wood from the Forestry Commission.

The reserve lies between the extensive woodland of Wentwood Forest and the well-wooded Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. As such, it is an important stepping stone of woodland habitat in the wider landscape, as well as being a valuable reservoir of wildlife in its own right.

Species

The lime-rich soils support a number of unusual plants including a large population of herb-Paris. Other specialities include spurge-laurel and bird’s-nest orchid. Unlike most flowering plants, bird’s-nest orchid has no chlorophyll, and obtains all its energy from dead vegetation. Common calamint can be found on the verge fringing the wood.

Herb-Paris is an uncommon plant which is not closely related to any other British wildflower. Each plant produces a single, poisonous blueberry-like fruit. 

In the spring, the woodland flora includes swathes of bluebells with wood anemone, primrose and violets. The wood has a large population of mature ash, wild cherry and lime trees – in thesummer these provide an impressive sight as the leaves fill the canopy. A prominent feature of the woodland is a scattering of large, mature yew trees. It is likely that these represent 19th Century plantings, possibly used as boundary markers. 

On-going restoration work will involve the creation of sunny glades to encourage more butterflies into the wood. This will also benefit dormice, which are known to use the reserve.

Access

At present there is no public access to this reserve as the Forestry Commission is carrying out work in the adjacent woodland (however a footpath does run through the woodland). Current access to the reserve is limited to volunteers and work tasks (July 2010). Updated access information is available from GWT.

Nearby reserves

Magor Marsh– a remnant of the once extensive fenland of the Gwent Levels. Brockwells Meadow, Rogiet Poorland, Caldicot Pill and Lower Minnetts Field

Surrounding area

Networks of footpaths are located in nearby Wentwood Forest, with Cadira Beeches being a good starting place for woodland walks. Wentwood Reservoir is located south of the forest; above the reservoir stands Gray Hill, which offers fine views to the Severn Estuary, as well as being known for its standing stones. Cuhere Wood lies close to the picturesque village of Llanvair Discoed, with its St Mary's Church. Food and drinks are available at The Woodlands Tavern.

Nearby nature reserves

Brockwells Meadows SSSI
2 miles - Gwent Wildlife Trust
Lower Minnetts Field
2 miles - Gwent Wildlife Trust
Rogiet Poorland
3 miles - Gwent Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Location
Llanvair Discoed
Chepstow
Gwent
NP16 6LU
Map reference
ST456924
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Size
10.00 hectares
Access
No

Dogs
No dogs allowed
Reserve manager
Gwent Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01600 740600
info@gwentwildlife.org