- Cadeira Beeches car park. OS Grid Ref: ST 422 949
- Forester’s Oaks car park. OS Grid Ref: ST 429 939
Wentwood Forest is over 1000 hectares of ancient woodland, straddling the boundary between Newport and Monmouthshire.
There are many tracks and pathways through the wood making it an excellent walking destination with plenty of wildlife to spot.
What to see
Parts of Wentwood are a conifer plantation, having been planted as far back as the 1700s.
These fast growing conifers provide a timber resource which is still harvested today.
The conifers will often cast dense shade resulting in limited ground flora beneath them, however many birds will feed on the cones of these trees – look out for the tiny, elusive, goldcrest.
Large areas of the forest have been re-planted with native broadleaved trees so it is returning to it’s original state.
Beneath the deciduous tree canopy, bluebells and other spring flowers flourish.
Wentwood is home to birds such as the spotted flycatcher and nightjar, mammals such as dormice, deer and bats and you may be lucky enough to spot an adder or lizard basking in sunny patches.
Open glades in the woodland offer ideal habitats for orchids like the bee orchid to thrive, and small patches of bracken offer a different habitat again.
Look out for wood ant nests which can stand 3-4ft high!
Wentwood Forest is part of the largest block of ancient woodland within Wales with a recorded history spanning over 1000 years.
It was once the hunting grounds for Chepstow Castle’s gentry, stretching for 3000 hectares and is home to an ancient oak tree, known as the Curly Oak, with a circumference of 6.35m!.
There are also remains of an old mill and charcoal hearths within the forest, suggesting an industrial role in the past.
Conifer planting dates back to the 1700s and many of the native trees were felled during the first and second world wars to form supports for trenches.
Today parts of the forest are being replanted with native broadleaved trees, returning the woodland to its former glory.
There are no bus services to Wentwood forest, the nearest stops are along the A48, which is at least 2.5 miles from the lower reaches of the forest.
Free car parking can be found at the Cadeira Beeches car park in the centre of the forest, and the Foresters’ Oaks car park (N.B. this is NOT the Foresters’ Oaks pub on the A48) which is on the southern side. Both car parks are on the Usk Road which takes you past Wentwoood Reservoir.
Wentwood is open all day, all year. There is a good network of woodland rides, way-marked trails, paths and bridleways, including the Wentwood Forest Downhill mountain-bike trail.
A leaflet with walking routes, produced by the Woodland Trust, is normally available at the information board at both car parks.
There are picnic benches at the Foresters’ Oaks car park along with BBQ sites and plenty of open grassland.
Wentwood is suitable for school trips with coach parking available at the Foresters’ Oaks car park.
The woodland ownership is shared between the Woodland Trust and Natural Resources Wales and schools and other groups should contact them to check availability of Education Officers.
The rural tracks and informal paths are uneven and can be muddy, so walking boots are essential.
Wentwood is a working forest and there may be contractor operations taking place – please abide by any safety notices.
Wentwood is used by dog walkers, walkers and horse riders alike. Please respect the other users.