Back to reserve map

Springdale Farm

Springdale Farm was acquired for its grassland, particularly a superb set of hay meadows. Its woodland offers one of Wales’ best displays of woodland flowers. The farm commands spectacular views of the surrounding landscape, including the Usk Valley, the Brecon Beacons and Wentwood Forest.

A diverse range of habitats can be found on the farm, including flower-rich pastures and hay meadows, an impressive broad-leaved woodland, ponds and streams. It is the Trust’s first working farm and is managed by tenants using traditional wildlife-friendly farming practices, including grazing with a herd of pedigree British White cattle – a breed which has been known for at least 800 years. 

A restoration project has taken place within ‘Miskey’s Meadow’. This meadow, formerly covered with bracken, has been transformed into a mosaic of grassland, scrub and bracken, benefitting a range of flowers and the adder’s-tongue fern.

Species

In spring the display of woodland flowers is breathtaking. Violets, wood anemone, bluebell, early-purple orchid and moschatel are amongst some of the specialities. Listen out for birds such as blackcap, willow warbler, chiffchaff, pied flycatcher and redstart. 

The meadows are at their most spectacular during the summer. The species at this time of yearincludecommon spotted-orchids, common knapweed, tormentil and pepper-saxifrage.

A small iris, called blue-eyed-grass, grows in wet rushy corners of the hay meadows. The presence of this species here, previously thought to be native no closer than western Ireland, is potentially the first native record for mainland Britain.

A thin band of limestone bedrock runs through the reserve and this provides the conditions for Gwent’s largest population of dyer’s greenweed.

A shrub like plant resembling a dwarf broom, dyer’s greenweed, as its name suggests, was used in medieval times to dye cloth.

The hay meadows support good populations of butterflies, such as marbled white, meadow brown, common blue and ringlet. There are also numerous day-flying moths such as Mother Shipton and the six-spot burnet.

A small orchard has been planted on site with traditional plum and apple varieties.

A variety of mature trees and shrubs – including oak, ash, crab apple, hazel and beech – grow in the woodland. The woodland also boasts a captivating ground flora in the spring and early summer. The huge diversity of woodland flowers includes sweet woodruff, broad-leaved helleborine and common twayblade, whilst clumps of opposite-leaved golden-saxifrage are located in the damper areas along the stream.

Interesting fungi species grow in the woodland in the autumn. The areas of short-grazed grassland support the elegant parasol fungi, whilst waxcaps are beginning to become more abundant as the fertility of the pastures drops.

Access

Please keep to the paths as livestock will be present in some fields. Parts of the reserve are located across steep terrain. Some of the lower slopes and woodland paths can be muddy, steep and slippery. There are steps in places.

Directions

From the A472, turn into the square in Usk town centre. Leave the square on Priory Street, signposted to Llantrisant, following the road round to the right by the church and then turning left at a T-junction by a shop. Take this B road south towards Llanllowell, Llantrisant and Wentwood. Pass Usk Prison on the left and continue for 3km until the road passes under the A449 dual carriageway. Immediately turn sharp left and continue for 1.5km up the hill until you reach almshouses on the right, just before a T-junction. The reserve entrance is on the left opposite the Almshouses.The car park has enough parking for five cars (grid ref: ST 410 991).

Nearby reserves

Priory Wood and Kitty’s Orchard lie to the west and north of Usk.

What to see around the reserve

The historic small country town of Usk has good pubs and restaurants. Other attractions include a ruined castle dating back to Norman times, and the Usk Rural Life Museum. There are good walks along the river Usk. The river has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation – the highest level of European protection – owing to its high ecological quality and the rare species it supports.

Nearby nature reserves

Kitty's Orchard
3 miles - Gwent Wildlife Trust
Cuhere Wood
5 miles - Gwent Wildlife Trust
Priory Wood SSSI
6 miles - Gwent Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Location
Llanllowell Lane, Coed-Cwner, Llangwm
Usk
Gwent
Map reference
ST 410 991
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
Plan your journey
Opening Times
Open at all times
Size
45.00 hectares
Living Landscape schemes
Usk to Wye Living Landscape
Access
No

Walking information
Please keep to the paths as livestock will be present in some fields. Parts of the reserve are located across steep terrain. Some of the lower slopes and woodland paths can be muddy, steep and slippery. There are steps in places.
Parking
There is a small car park for about five cars in front of the barn at the reserve entrance.
Dogs
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Livestock
Reserve manager
Gwent Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01600 740600
info@gwentwildlife.org