Know before you go
Parking informationUse the small car park beside the Trust’s Derek Upton Centre. Our education centre is used by school groups during term time and is not open to the public except for special events.
Grazing animalsCattle and other livestock regularly graze some areas.
A mixture of surfaced and unsurfaced paths and boardwalks allow you to stroll through the reserve. Please note that due to sensitive wildlife, dogs are not allowed at Magor Marsh.
The reserve is flat, with a path and boardwalk allowing wheelchair users access as far as the bird hide (400 metres from the car park). The trail leading around the reserve is surfaced, however there are steps and boggy, uneven ground in other parts of the reserve. Cattle and other livestock regularly graze some areas.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitAll year
About the reserve
Magor Marsh is one of the last remaining pieces of natural fenland that once covered the Gwent Levels. Wetlands like this used to be commonplace across Britain but they are now one of our most threatened habitats. It was the threat of losing this important place in the 1960s that brought local naturalists together to fight for its survival, banding together to form what is now known as the Gwent Wildlife Trust. With the more recent addition of Barecroft Common to this reserve, we are able to protect even more of this special place and its wildlife.
The landscape is a mosaic of habitats that nurture a rich diversity of wildlife throughout the year. The marsh comes alive with bird song in spring as Cetti’s warblers flit between the reeds and scrub and cuckoos give their distinctive calls. In summer, there is an explosion of colour as wildflowers carpet the meadows and the air is full of insects as they feed on the nectar-rich flowers. As the pace of life begins to slow in autumn, it is the best time to see the flash of colour as kingfishers dart along the waterways. In winter, the pond becomes the centre of attention and you can watch the flocks of teals and shovelers from our birdwatching hide. You may even get lucky and see an otter!
What we do here
Managing water levels is an essential part of our work to keep the different habitats, and their wildlife, thriving. The reserve is fed by underground springs and, using a system of sluices in the reens and ditches, we are able to move water around the reserve to create the perfect conditions.
We have built a kingfisher and sand martin bank on the reserve to provide nesting sites for these species and in 2011 we embarked on an exciting project to return water voles, one of Britain’s fastest-declining mammals, to Magor Marsh. All the signs suggest they are doing well and are now spreading out across the Gwent Levels.
The Gwent Levels is an ancient landscape, carefully and purposefully managed by man for thousands of years. Prehistoric footprints preserved in the mud of the nearby estuary shows this was a hunting ground for early man. The man-made drainage ditches that criss-cross the reserve could date back to Roman times and a near-intact Roman boat was found just a mile from the reserve.
With several nationally significant archaeological finds, the Gwent Levels has been designated a ‘Landscape of Outstanding Historic Interest’.
Exit the M4 at Junction 23A and take the first left, signposted ‘Magor/Caldicot’ on the B4245. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit to Magor. After entering Magor, take the right turn signposted ‘Magor Square’ and with a brown tourist sign for Magor Marsh below. Follow the road round to the right (signed Llandevenny/Redwick’) and past the ruins of the Priory. After crossing a narrow railway bridge, turn left immediately and follow this road for about 400m and reserve entrance is on the right.
From Newport, Magor town can be reached on bus route 74. Disembark at ‘Magor-Withy Walk’ bus stop and it’s a short 10-15 minute walk to the nature reserve via Redwick Road. Cross over the railway bridge and turn immediately left onto Whitewall.
Near the reserve
There are four other Gwent Wildlife Trust nature reserves you can visit in this area – Great Traston Meadows towards Newport and Brockwells Meadows, Lower Minnetts Field and Rogiet Poorland just north of Magor.
The village of Magor has good local pubs and an attractive square. Redwick is also nearby, with refreshments available at The Rose Inn. Visit the Church of St Thomas the Apostle where the height of the water during the Great Flood of 1607 is marked on the wall.