Protected sites

From the semi-natural ancient woodlands of Coed Wen and Plas Machen to the meadows at Llanmartin and the wet pastures and reen systems of the Levels, Newport has a wealth of habitats and wildlife. 

International Designations

Special Areas of Conservation (SACs)

SACs are designated sites under the EC Habitats and Species Directive.

Together SACs and SPAs (see below) form a network of sites of European importance known as Natura 2000. SACs are protected through their designation as SSSIs (see below).

The Severn Estuary has been designated as a SAC (SAC), as is the River Usk.

Special Protection Areas (SPAs)

SPAs are designated under Article 4 of EC Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds 1979 (EC/79/409), commonly known as the Wild Birds Directive.

These sites have regularly occurring migratory species and/or certain rare or vulnerable species.

SPAs in Wales are identified by the Countryside Council for Wales, in conjunction with the UK Joint Nature Conservation Committee, and designated by the First Minister for the National Assembly.

The Severn Estuary is a SPA, and is also protected through its designation as a SSSI (see below).

Ramsar Sites

Ramsar Sites are designated under the International Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (the Ramsar Convention).

Ramsar Sites are also SSSIs which provides them with protection.

In Wales, they are identified by the Countryside Council for Wales, in collaboration with the UK Joint Nature Conservation Committee, and are designated by the First Minister for the NAW.

The Severn Estuary is a Ramsar Site.

National Designations

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs)

These are notified under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. They are characterised as examples of the best sites of wildlife habitats, geological features and landforms. In Wales, SSSIs are notified by the Countryside Council for Wales.

There are 11 SSSIs covering a variety of habitats in Newport:

  • River Usk (Lower Usk)
  • Severn Estuary
  • Gwent Levels are six separate contiguous SSSIs (4,500ha) comprising
  • Rumney and Peterstone SSSI (eastern part only)
  • St. Brides SSSI
  • Nash and Goldcliff SSSI
  • Whitson SSSI
  • Redwick and Llandevenny SSSI (all except south-eastern most portion)
  • Magor and Undy SSSI (this lies adjacent to the latter, but falls outside of the NCC boundary)
  • Penhow Woods
  • Parc Seymour Woods
  • Langstone-Llanmartin Meadows
  • Plas Machen Wood

National Nature Reserve (NNR)

This is an area of high nature conservation value, managed to provide opportunities for research or to protect animals and plants and geological or topographical features of special interest. NNRs in Wales are declared by the Countryside Council for Wales under Section 19 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 or under Section 35 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. All NNRs have SSSI status. Penhow Woods is the only NNR in Newport.

Local Designations

Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs)

These are sites that have locally rather than internationally or nationally important wildlife. They are often referred to as ‘second tier sites’ or ‘wildlife sites’. Newport City Council has identified a number of SINCs Further details can be found in the ‘Draft Nature Conservation Strategy for Newport City Council’.

Local Nature Reserve (LNR)

These are designated by the Local Authority, in conjunction with the Countryside Council for Wales under National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. LNRs are valuable for nature conservation, local wildlife, and/or geological interest. They are often located within populated areas and provide excellent recreational and educational resources. One such site has been designated at Allt-yr-Yn and others are being considered.

Non-statutory Nature Reserves

These sites have no formal status in the local planning system, although any nature conservation value would normally be taken into consideration by the local authority in determining any potentially damaging developments on or near the site. They are designated by a range of statutory agencies, volunteer organizations and private individuals usually on land which is either owned or leased by the body concerned.

Examples in Newport include:

  • Woodland Trust Reserve at Craig y Wenallt
  • Caerleon Comprehensive School Nature Reserve, Coldbath Lane, Caerleon
  • NCC sites managed under agreement by GWT through its Newport branch, WING which comprise
  • Allt-yr-Yn (also a LNR)
  • Ringland Wood
  • Oaklands
  • Duffryn Pond
  • Lodge Wood

Newport Wetlands Reserve

The Newport Wetlands Reserve was created as compensation for the loss of habitat caused by the building of the barrage in Cardiff Bay. Reedbeds, lowland wet grassland, saline lagoons, and saltmarsh have been created over 438.6 ha between Uskmouth and Goldcliff.