Newport is the first city you’ll reach when you cross the Prince of Wales bridge into Southern Wales along the M4, so it’s an ideal starting point to explore the beauty spots, parks, ancient woodlands and nature reserves this area has to offer.
As someone who grew up in the area, it’s surprising how much there is to discover on your doorstep – some of these places I haven’t visited before and I’m already looking forward to visiting again. So, depending on your local restrictions, why not explore places on your doorstep, who knows, you could find a new local beauty spot or park you’d like to spend more time in as well.
Autumn is a great season for an adventure in Wales, yes you may have to pack the waterproofs, but the shorter daylight hours provides an ample opportunity to catch colourful sunrises and sunsets over a patchwork landscape of green, amber and gold you won’t find any other time of year.
Tredegar House | Parks in Newport
Now cared for by the National Trust, Tredegar House was for a long time owned by Newport’s very influential Morgan family before it was sold in the 1950s. Tredegar House is particularly popular at Christmas time for its festive activities, though a crisp and sunny autumn day is ideal for a brisk walk around the lake, or a family day out at the play park which are free to enter.
Refer to the National Trust website before you visit Tredegar House and Park to check the current opening times, closures and admission charges for the formal gardens and Mansion House.
Newport Wetlands Nature Reserve
Newport Wetlands Nature Reserve is a haven for wildlife where wetland meets the mudflats of the Severn Estuary. In the autumn over 90,000 birds flock here from across Northern Europe, attracted by the vast food supply exiting the river or being washed up in the tide. Packing your binoculars and camera is essential, you never know what birdlife you’re going to encounter along the numerous nature trails and coastal path.
Belle Vue Park | Parks in Newport
Belle Vue Park is located only a few minutes west of the city centre by foot and opened in 1894 at a cost of £19,500. The hillside park was designed by Edwardian architect Thomas Mawson and its history is particularly evident when you stroll around the grand Pavilion and terrace – which is now a tea room and events space.
There’s a harmonious mix of tree and plant life at Belle Vue from across the world that create a dazzling display of colour in the autumn season, particularly in an area known as the ‘Cascade’. Beyond this the concrete paths weave amongst thick tree trunks, with plenty of park benches and picnic spots to choose from.
The view north from Christchurch hill overlooks the ancient Roman town of Caerleon and the former University Campus that is used for the Netflix series Sex Education. Beyond the clock tower of the campus are rolling hills Wales is famous for, best enjoyed from the two benches at this beauty spot. Nearby is St Julian’s woodland and the 5* Celtic Manor Resort, hosts of the 2010 Ryder Cup Golf Tournament and 2014 Nato Summit, attended by world leaders like Barack Obama.
Beechwood Park and House | Parks in Newport
Spanning 30 acres, Beechwood Park is a beautiful public park on the eastern side of Newport city. Beechwood’s hillside location is similar to Belle Vue, as well as its onsite cafe and sports court facilities. In the middle of the park is a Grade II listed House with distant views over the River Usk and Transporter Bridge. Beechwood park also has a tranquil landscaped area with narrow bridges and trails criss-crossing a trickling stream.
Allt-yr-Yn Nature Reserve
Another stunning viewpoint of the mountains can be seen from the top of Allt-yr-Yn to the west of the city. The row of benches honouring loves ones who have passed away show its popularity with visitors over the years.
The Ridgeway Cafe is a convenient spot for lunch or hot drink before or after a walk in the nearby nature reserve and Fourteen Locks canal.
On the border with Monmouthshire you’ll find Wentwood Forest, an ancient woodland once used as hunting ground for Chepstow Castle. In the autumn you may spot colourful fungi like the red Fly Agaric, plus stunning views over the Prince of Wales bridge and River Severn.
When was the last time you visited your local parks, or discovered a new beauty spot or viewpoint on your doorstep? Local restrictions permitting, now could be a good opportunity to visit these places near you for the positive impacts nature can have on our mental well-being, and of course to enjoy the changing colours of the season.