Know before you go
Parking informationThere is parking for two cars opposite the signed entrance gate (grid ref ST 47027 89531).
There are no designated paths across the meadows.
The reserve is comprised of four grassy fields with a mixture of field and kissing gates to access and navigate around the reserve. The terrain is steep and muddy in places and cattle graze the reserve so dogs need to be kept on leads.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitSpring and summer
About the reserve
One of the best areas of limestone grassland in Gwent, the undulating fields are full of specialist grassland plants scarcely found elsewhere in the county.
With over 70 species of plants recorded on the reserve, it is a spectacular sight when they bloom in late spring and summer, with the deep-purple of green-winged orchids to the bright yellow of yellow-worts. The unusual plant species attract some unusual insects and the reserve is home to two fascinating but declining insects – the large scabious bee and the hornet robberfly. In autumn, the wildflowers fade away but are replaced with large numbers of grassland fungi.
What we do here
We follow the traditional method of taking a hay cut towards the end of summer to encourage the unusual and diverse plants found here. We reintroduce cattle to graze the fields in June, a little earlier than usual but it is to ensure a crucial supply of cowpats for the hornet robberfly to use when breeding.
Heading west from Chepstow, take the A48 towards Newport. After 3km turn left onto the B4245 to Caldicot. Pass through Caldicot, signposted ‘Caerwent’. Follow this road over the M4 for about 1.5km, then turn left for Shirefield. The reserve entrance is immediately on the right.
Near the reserve
Our Rogiet Poorland and Lower Minnetts Field reserves are just a short drive away.
Nearby historical sites include Caldicot, with its impressive medieval castle and Caerwent’s Roman town ruins, thought to be the capital of the Silures tribe.