Back to reserve map

Prisk Wood SSSI

Prisk Wood is a very special ancient woodland, situated on a steep slope above the River Wye. A striking feature of the woodland is the mass of mosses, liverworts and ferns which carpet boulders, tree stumps and fallen tree trunks. The medley of small streams running through the woodland are favoured by a variety of unusual damp-loving species.

Prisk Wood contains some interesting archaeological features, notably the remains from quarrying and the manufacture of millstones. Millstones were cut out of the quartz conglomerate in the upper reaches of the wood and transported through what are now deep fern-clad valleys to the River Wye below. The stones of quartz conglomerate, known as pudding stone, were widely used for cider making and grinding corn. Today the reserve consists of derelict coppice with some large trees. Pollarded lime trees appear to have been used as boundary markers. The Cadora Brook, a fast-flowing, precipitous stream, forms the southern boundary of the reserve as it approaches the River Wye to the east.

Species
In spring, there is a stunning display of bluebells. Ramsons, wood anemone and early-purple orchid are also on show. Other interesting plants include herb-Paris and yellow archangel. Opposite-leaved golden-saxifrage lines the damper areas around the stream. 

A rare crane-fly has been recorded for the first time in Wales at Prisk Wood. It is associated with the wet flushes in the woodland, which are thought to be its breeding ground.

As autumn progresses a wonderful spectacle of colour illuminates the woodland. There is a good diversity of breeding birds, including all three British species of woodpecker. There are records of goshawk, woodcock, redstart, spotted flycatcher, pied flycatcher, hawfinch and marsh tit. There is evidence of dormice in the wood and fallow deer are often seen.

Pied flycatchers normally breed in holes in trees but populations of these migrants from Africa have been increased through providing nest boxes in woods such as Prisk.

Access

There are rough paths in the woods. Care is needed as the ground is very uneven in the areas which have previously been quarried. The woodland is also very steep and wet in places. Sleeper bridges are located across the streams.

Directions

For directions to Penallt village see the Pentwyn Farm reserve. At the crossroads in Penallt village go straight on, down Lone Lane. After about 1.5km look for a yellow grit bin on the right, before the road bends round to the left near a house. Park here and enter the woods by the grit bin to reach the reserve. There is limited parking, for one car only, on the roadside (grid ref: SO 532 091). The reserve entrance can be reached by following the path for 40 metres into the wood.

As parking is limited, it is worth parking at Pentwyn Farm and walking down Lone Lane to the reserve. A path also runs between the reserves.

Nearby reserves

Prisk Wood is very close to Pentwyn Farm and Wyeswood Common. New Grove Meadows lies slightly further west, and Margaret’s Wood lies to the south.

What to see around the reserve

The WyeValley is excellent walking country with plenty of public footpaths. The area is known for its picturesque villages with good country pubs and inns. Interesting species of plants can be found along the verges and footpaths, which also abound with insects such as bees, butterflies and moths. For more information on the locality, see the entries for Wyeswood Common and Pentwyn Farm. 

Nearby nature reserves

Pentwyn Farm SSSI
0 miles - Gwent Wildlife Trust
Wyeswood Common
1 miles - Gwent Wildlife Trust
Margaret's Wood
1 miles - Gwent Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Location
Lone Lane, Penallt
Monmouth
Gwent
Map reference
SO 532 091
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
Size
6.00 hectares
Living Landscape schemes
Usk to Wye Living Landscape
Access
No

Walking information
There are rough paths in the woods. Care is needed as the ground is very uneven in the areas which have previously been quarried. The woodland is also very steep and wet in places. Sleeper bridges are located across the streams.
Parking
There is limited parking, for one car only, on the roadside. Alternatively, further parking is available at Pentwyn Farm reserve a short walk away.
Dogs
Dogs allowed
Reserve manager
Gwent Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01600 740600
info@gwentwildlife.org