Clinging to the slopes of Machen Mountain, this reserve may be small but its broad-leaved woodland, limestone grassland, tumbling streams and pond are home to a wealth of wildlife.


Tir y Cwm Lane, Risca

OS Map Reference

ST 235 905
A static map of Dan-y-Graig

Know before you go

1 hectare

Entry fee


Parking information

Cars can be parked on the road outside the brick works on Dan-y-Graig road.

Walking trails

A winding boardwalk leads you across the reserve’s pond and a short circular walk takes you past a viewpoint overlooking Risca.


The reserve is on a hillside with some steep flights of steps. The paths can be slippery and muddy in places. Bridges and steps have been built at strategic points. A boardwalk with a handrail leads across the pond area.


Dogs permitted

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

Spring and summer

About the reserve

With fine views across the valley towards the peak of Twmbarlwm and a variety of habitats, this small reserve is an oasis for wildlife and people amongst the urban sprawl.

It’s likely that much of the reserve would have once been covered by limestone grassland and, although only a small pocket remains today, it is home to number of plants that are uncommon in Gwent. Anthills dot the grassland and the disturbed soil is good for scarlet pimpernel and annual pearlwort. Butterflies like common blue and green-veined whites are drawn to the flowers and slow worms enjoy the relative warmth of the slopes. Much of the reserve is now clad in young ash woodland with a stunning spring and summer display of ramson, dog’s mercury and bluebells.

The pond, with its clear spring-fed water, is a great place to watch for wildlife. Water-loving plants like yellow iris and marsh marigold thrive at the pond’s margins, and water horsetail sprouts from the water like a mini forest. Common toads leave long strings of toadspawn amongst the vegetation and water shrews have been recorded here. On hot summer days, dragonflies patrol the water.

Lead mining historically took place in the surrounding area. Workings from a lead mine were found at Dan-y-Graig quarry and it is possible that tunnels could continue under the reserve.

The pond is thought to have been built to provide water for the copper works which once stood on the site of the adjacent brickyard over 150 years ago. Despite its industrial past, the pond is now teeming with wildlife.

By car
From Newport, take the B4240 out of the city centre, continuing onto the B4591 towards Risca. If travelling via the M4, exit at Junction 27 and join the B4591. Continue along the B4591 for approximately 4.5 km, following signs for Risca. At the roundabout where the B4591 heads west towards Risca railway station, take the second exit onto Commercial Road, leading through Risca town centre. Shortly after passing the Baptist Church on your right, turn left down Dan-y-Graig Road. Follow the road as it passes under the A467 and bear right past the row of bungalows. Cars can be parked on the road outside the brick works.

Continue to the reserve on foot by walking back down Dan-y-Graig Road and then take the first right onto Tir y Cwm Lane. Walk about 50m up the hill and the sloped path up to the gated reserve entrance is on your right (grid ref ST 23515 90523)

Near the reserve
Gwent Wildlife Trust’s Henllys Bog, Coed Meyric Moel and Allt-yr-Yn reserves are a short drive away.

There are good walks in the hills above the reserve, including the Rhymney Valley Ridgeway footpath. The Sirhowy Valley Country Park lies to the west of Risca and is the starting point for the Ebbw Valley Walk. The Cwmcarn Forest Drive is a popular local attraction.


Contact us

Gwent Wildlife Trust
Contact number: 01495 307525
Contact email: info@gwentwildlife.org