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New Grove Meadows

The New Grove Meadows reserve provides an unforgettable sight in May and June when thousands of orchid spikes, set against other wildflowers, give a wonderful display of colour. From the reserve there are superb views across fine lowland scenery to the Great Skirrid and Sugar Loaf, which are backed by the full sweep of South Wales’ other mountains.

The reserve is made up of four adjacent meadows. The two northern meadows are amongst the best in Britain – the richness of their grassland flora is indicative of an unbroken history of traditional management. They also support a large population of green-winged orchids. The two southern fields have been reseeded and fertilised in the past, however the Trust’s traditional management is steadily restoring their species diversity, and they now provide a superb display of colour each year.

The meadows receive an annual hay cut in July or August, followed by aftermath grazing. Mature hedgerows border the meadows – these offer food and shelter for many species of invertebrates, birds and small mammals.

The green-winged orchid was once a common sight in Gwent. However, intensification of farming in the 20th Century resulted in its loss from nearly all the meadows where it once thrived.

Species

In spring, the lemon-yellow flowers of cowslip and the subtle pale brown spikes of the spring sedge are the first to flower. In May, early-purple orchids are found at the field edges, and by the end of the month the fields are dominated by large numbers of green-winged orchids. Heath spotted-orchids appear next, and by mid June, common spotted-orchids follow. Other orchids include the common twayblade with its intricately-shaped green flowers.

Two tiny grassland ferns – moonwort and adder's-tongue fern – have been recorded within the meadows. Other flowers include meadow vetchling, rough hawkbit, common milkwort and common knapweed. The flora attracts a wide range of insects, including butterflies such as the dingy skipper.

Some of the most beautiful fungi, aptly named the grassland jewels, are the range of brightly-coloured waxcaps which grow in New Grove Meadows. In autumn the two northern fields are particularly important for waxcaps, with swarms of yellow, red and green species, along with rarities such as the pink waxcap which is a gaudy candyfloss colour. Another rare grassland mushroom recorded here goes by the name of big blue pinkgill.

Dormice and harvest mice have been identified in the mature hedgerows. Strips of scrub have been planted to increase the amount of habitat for these species. Honeysuckle in the hedges adds to the quality of the habitat for dormice. Finely shredded honeysuckle bark is the favoured nesting material for dormice, which also feed on its flowers and berries.

Part of the site forms Gwent's Coronation Meadow, which is part of as a national scheme to celebrate wildflower meadows in each County of the UK.

Access

The reserve consists of four slightly sloping grassy fields – the ground is uneven in places. The access into the fields is through gates, which have sufficient space for a wheelchair.

Directions
From Monmouth, go south on the B4293 (signposted Trellech and Mitchel Troy). About 1.5km from Monmouth, take the left fork, signposted Trellech, Penallt and Chepstow. Continue along the B4293 up the hill, past a turning for Whitebrook and The Narth on the left. On a straight section of the road look for a large Forestry Commission sign on the right, marked Wet Meadow Wood. Take this turning and park in the forestry car park at the junction of the forestry roads (grid ref: SO 501 066). Walk back along the access track and the entrance to the meadows is on the left.

Nearby reserves

Croes Robert and Wet Meadow Woods can be reached on foot through the Forestry Commission plantations next to New Grove Meadows. Towards Penallt and The Narth lie the Margaret’s Wood, Pentwyn Farm, Wyeswood Common and Prisk Wood reserves.

What to see around the reserve

The historic village of Trellech is one of the most interesting villages in South Wales. There are walks across Trellech Common and the Whitebrook Valley. From Trellech you can also walk past Cleddon Hall, Llandogo, over Bigsweir Bridge and up to the Hudnalls and St Briavels.

Nearby nature reserves

Beacon Hill
1 miles - Gwent Wildlife Trust
Margaret's Wood
2 miles - Gwent Wildlife Trust
The Wern
2 miles - Gwent Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Location
Lloysey, Trellech
Monmouth
Gwent
Map reference
SO 501 066
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
Size
5.00 hectares
Living Landscape schemes
Usk to Wye Living Landscape
Access
Yes

Walking information
The reserve consists of four slightly sloping grassy fields – the ground is uneven in places. The access into the fields is through gates, which have sufficient space for a wheelchair.
Parking
Park in the forestry car park at the crossroads.
Dogs
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Sheep
Reserve manager
Gwent Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01600 740600
info@gwentwildlife.org