6 autumn walks and what species to look for
Silent Valley and Mynydd Carn-y-cefn 10km / 6mi - VIEW ROUTE
Not the flattest of walks, but the beech trees in our Silent Valley Nature Reserve are magnificent around autumn, the far reaching view from 550m up on Carn-y-cefn Mountain isn’t too bad either. This circular starts at the Silent Valley and works its way through the woods up along the ridge to the trig point on Carn-y-cefn Mountain and back around to the car park!
Look out for: Beech Trees
Keeping this one easy for the eyes, as the ascent is hard on the legs. If you haven’t spotted these on this walk you’re probably in the wrong place as they’re in abundance in the Silent Valley. Casting a beautiful golden orange hue with its autumnal canopy or contrasting curves in winter they’re always dressed to impress.
Piercefield Estate 8km / 5mi - VIEW ROUTE
Starting off in Chepstow and touching by our Piercefield Woods reserve before trailing away from the meandering Wye around the Piercefield estate and through Cockshoot Woods before circling back. There’s a lot of history and scenery in this walk, not least the crumbling remains of the once decadent Piercefield House.
Look out for: Amethyst Deceiver
Still around in autumn but likely gone by winter – the radiant purple colour of the amethyst deceiver makes it a real spectacle. It’s not large and may be hidden under leaves; pay particular attention around the base of beech trees to spot this little gem.
The Ebbw Fach Trail 16km / 10mi - VIEW ROUTE
There’s an abundance of history, both industrial and natural, to be found along this long walk. The trail retraces the valleys old industrial sites left over from the steel and coal industries, now linked together with 14 magnificent community green spaces.
Look out for: Moorhen
Moorhens are a fairly common sight across much of the UK. They’re aquatic animals and build large untidy looking nests by the water in spring. They can deal with a mixed habitat, but do of course need bodies of water for survival; it’s highly likely you’ll see Moorhens at Cwmtillery Lakes during this walk.
Magor Levels Loop 15km / 10mi - VIEW ROUTE
Starting from our Magor Marsh Reserve SSSI, passing along the quiet roads away from Magor and touring through the Gwent Levels fertile farmland and vast array of reens to arrive along the Welsh Coastal Path heading east – this long walk takes you on a breath-taking tour of this unique and significant part of Welsh history
Look out for: Common Snipe
A medium-sized wader, the Snipe lives in marshes, wet grassland and moorlands. A reasonably common site around the levels, particularly in our Magor Marsh reserve, although they are shy and often well camouflaged so not the easiest to spot.
Southern Henllys Circular 7km / 4 miles - VIEW ROUTE
Henllys was quite the happening place back in 10th Century – things have changed a little bit since then and it’s a little quieter nowadays. This walk takes you to the Mynydd Maen (Stone Mountain) as well as past our Henllys Bog SSSI, a rare valley mire habitat worth checking out.
Look out for: Siskins
A small and attractive finch, look for the bright yellow barring on its black wings, and the black crown of the males. Often seen in groups this time of year feeding on the seeds of Alders, which just so happen to surround our Henllys Bog site!
Mitchell Troy to Cwmcarvan 8km / 5mi - VIEW ROUTE
There are some amazing views stretching east towards the Wye Valley and west towards the Sugar Loaf and Black Mountains along this route. We’d strongly recommend turning left after Trealy Wood (towards Wern Farm) and taking a scenic detour through our reserve, The Wern.
Look out for: Fallow Deer
Fallow Deer can often be seen amongst the trees and Bracken on The Wern. During the autumnal breeding season, you may even see male deer rutting; males make a loud belly belch to proclaim their territory and fight over the females by locking horns in a physical display.
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