St Julian’s Park Local Nature Reserve (LNR) is a large open space between Christchurch Road and Caerleon Road, car park on Christchurch Road, Christchurch, NP18 1JJ.
Car parking is best at Christchurch viewpoint (OS Grid Ref: ST 345 892) and there is pedestrian access all around the site.
The first known reference of the site as ‘The Park and St Julian’s Park’ dates back to 1583 when it was referred to as a medieval deer park.
Part of the woodland is also classed as ancient semi-natural woodland, meaning that there has been woodland on that site since the 1600s.
Scheduled ancient monuments (SAMs) are designated by Cadw and are given statutory protection.
Within St Julian’s Park is an Iron Age hillfort, called St Julian’s Wood Camp (OS grid reference ST340891), situated to the south-east of site on the ridge overlooking the Usk Valley.
The car park at Christchurch viewpoint is unlocked during daylight hours.
There are many pedestrian access points around the site from residential streets in the St Julian’s area.
The paths are not marked but there are many well-worn, unsurfaced paths to follow which are often muddy and steep in places - wear sturdy footwear.
Newport Bus services stop at the cenotaph in Christchurch and other services stop at the St Julian’s pub on Caerleon Road.
What to see
St Julian’s Park consists of mixed deciduous woodland, semi-improved and amenity grassland and areas of bracken and scrub.
From Christchuch viewpoint there are far reaching views across the River Usk to Caerleon and beyond.
Continuing down from the viewpoint is a large expanse of gently sloping improved grassland, where you might see grassland fungi such as the shaggy inkcap or orange peel fungus.
If you are visiting in the spring, head to the woodland for some spring flowers and birdsong.
In the summer, see what wildflowers and butterflies you can spot in the areas of semi-improved grassland, and in the autumn, the woodland is again a good place to head for fungi and autumn colours.
Don’t forget the winter! Plenty of birds use the woodland here so a visit during the winter would be perfect for bird spotting.
Deciduous woodland - you will see oak, ash and hazel, with spring flowers such as wood anemone, lesser celandine and bluebell.
Semi-improved grassland - the grassland in the far northwest of the site, off Piper Close and Renoir Road, is a good example of semi-improved grassland.
Bracken - generally found growing on the sides of hills as it needs well drained soil, bracken spreads quickly so can take over and smother other habitats although can be beneficial for a range of wildlife in small areas.
Amenity grassland – regularly mown grass is not the best wildlife habitat, but some plants and animals will still take up residence so keep your eyes open.
No organised education visits take place at St Julian’s Park although schools and other groups are welcome to visit the site at any time.
A number of different habitat types can be seen allowing comparison studies to be carried out.
Parts of the site are very steep and muddy and care should be taken.