Fourteen Locks, Cwm Lane, Rogerstone. NP10 9GN. OS Grid Ref: ST 279 886
Fourteen Locks Canal Centre is located at the top of a unique flight of 14 locks, Cefn Flight of Locks, which is recognised as an engineering wonder of the Industrial Revolution, rising 160 feet in just half a mile.
It provides an excellent base for walks along the Monmouthshire-Brecon canal towpath, and there is a large car park at the centre, along with a café and toilets.
What to see
The canal is an important wildlife corridor, winding it’s way through Newport.
Many bird species such as coots, moorhens, swans, herons and grey wagtails use it and you may also be lucky enough to catch the flash of blue of a kingfisher.
Secretive otters use the water to hunt for fish and bats use the canal for navigation and as a hunting ground during the night.
Amphibians and reptiles make the most of the canal and bankside vegetation – you will spot frog spawn in the water early spring.
In the autumn and winter, frogs and newts will be on land so keep an eye out for them under logs and vegetation.
Grass snakes have also been seen in the water – these reptiles are excellent swimmers, feeding on fish and amphibians.
Reeds and rushes abound and you will also spot frog-bit floating on the water.
You will probably also spot some invasive species which, if left unmanaged, cause huge problems for the native wildlife of the canal.
Both parrot feather and water fern can spread very quickly, smothering the canal, blocking the light and depleting the oxygen supplies, killing invertebrates and fish in the process.
The Monmouthshire and Brecon canal is the modern name for two 18th century canals - the Monmouthshire Canal and the Brecknock and Abergavenny Canal.
They were fully open by 1799, built to carry coal and iron to Newport, which led to a rapid expansion of the town and the riverside wharfs.
The canal enjoyed many profitable years until the arrival of the railways and from the 1850s sections of the canal began to close.
Some sections were converted to railways, some left as water feeders, and others were destined to become roads.
The last section of the canal was abandoned in 1962. However, within a few years, restoration work had begun and continues to this day.
There is a large car park at Fourteen Locks where the gates are locked at 4.45pm.
The towpath is mostly flat and even but some sections are un-surfaced, and there are inclines and declines around the locks.
There is very good access at the Centre for wheel chairs, but the suitability of footpaths is limited.
Newport Bus service R1 and 56 stop on High Cross Road at the Cwm Lane bus stop, which is a short walk from the Canal Centre.
The Fourteen Locks Canal Centre is run by the Canals Trust, who are able to deliver educational sessions to visiting school groups by prior arrangement.
The canal is open water, deep in many places, with very sheer, steep drops down to the locks.
The towpath can be uneven in places so please take care and wear appropriate footwear.