Cwm Clydach/Clydach Gorge National Nature Reserve
The Cwm Clydach NNR near Gilwern, lies in a steep limestone gorge through which the fast-flowing River Clydach passes, creating a number of attractive waterfalls. The beech trees found in Cwm Clydach are on the western edge of their range in the UK. Although the woodland at Cwm Clydach is made up mainly of beech, sessile oak, ash and yew can also be found in the area, and on the steeper slopes and limestone outcrops there are rare whitebeam trees. Unusual plants in the reserve include the rare bird’s-nest orchid, soft-leaved sedge oak fern and yellow bird’s nest. In autumn, wonderful displays of fungi cover the woodland floor, including rose spindle, rosy pinkgill, giant club, olive earthtongue, the rare parasitic powdercap strangler and various coral fungi. Cwm Clydach NNR is also a good place to see birds, and both the green and the great spotted woodpecker occur here. The area is also good for birds of prey, and you may catch sight of sparrowhawks, buzzards, kestrels and various owls.
Also in the area
About the area
The area of Newport neighbours Monmouthshire and is home to a cathedral city of the very same name again. Situated 12 miles from Cardiff, on the mouth of the River Usk, the Normans built a castle here. But Newport really grew up in the 19th century when its port became the place from which to export coal around the world – until Cardiff took over in the 1850s. It was also the site of the last large-scale armed insurrection in Britain, the Newport Rising of 1839.
The docks may have declined in importance, but Newport survived, building on manufacturing, engineering and service industries – some government departments are located here too, such as the passport office. The city is also reinventing itself. First off, it was granted city status in 2002, beating off competition from five other Welsh rivals, including Aberystwyth and Wrexham. It also opened the Usk footbridge in 2006, which won a number of awards, and attracted some big-name discount retail outlets. A few years later, it hosted the prestigious 2010 Ryder Cup at the nearby Celtic Manor Resort.
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