South Wales Coast ~ Walk 2. Goldcliff & Newport Wetlands

This walk covers the Wales Coast Path section between Goldcliff seawall to the RSPB Newport Wetlands Reserve. It’s an 11 miles loop walk, returning to Goldcliff.

Wales Coast Path ~ way-marker on the seawall at Goldcliff.

With views across the Severn Estuary and the flat low-lying landscape of the Gwent Levels, Goldcliff is a favourite place of many local people. It offers an escape to a calm and tranquil spot and is popular with local walkers, birdwatchers and fishermen who set up their lines along the seawall at high tide.

The seawall at Goldcliff.

The walk along the grassy path on the seawall is pleasant enough, just taking in the views and the gentle tidal sounds of the estuary. At low tide a band of yellow lichen is visible on the rocks along the shoreline and rivulets form striking patterns across the mudflats.

Goldcliff to the Wetlands Reserve

The coast path route leaves the seawall at Goldcliff and continues along the road for a short distance. At Goldcliff there’s usually the option for a welcome break at the Seawall Tearooms. It’s very handily situated right on the coast path route, although it was closed on the day of this walk.

The route turns inland across marsh fields and around the outside of the area of the Goldcliff lagoons, which are protected breeding grounds for wading birds. As the path crosses low lying fields that are below the level of the seawall, there are no views of the estuary for some distance.

Sheep graze alongside a Reen

The lagoons are a popular spot for ‘twitchers’ with some bird hides around the area. Although as we were on the move we didn’t see many wading birds, just typical farmland scenery with grazing sheep and cattle.

Along the route are a series of display boards which provide helpful information about the salt marsh habitat, birds and wildlife.

After crossing the salt-marsh grasslands, the path returns towards the seawall and the Severn Estuary. There are good views along the foreshore and out across the wide expanse of the estuary as far as Lavernock Point and the islands of Flat Holm and Steep Holm in the distance.

Ahead are the Wetlands Reserve, the tall chimneys of the Uskmouth power station and a series of huge electricity pylons, as nature meets industry.

Newport Wetlands Reserve

The Wetlands Reserve has become a popular local site with short walking trails and bird watching opportunities. You can read more about the Wetlands Nature Reserve here. It’s a great place to enjoy a stroll on way-marked and level footpaths and to do some bird spotting along the way.

The coast path passes by the East Usk lighthouse which has stood here since 1893. It’s quite a small lighthouse, when compared to the older and more substantial West Usk Lighthouse which sits on the opposite bank across the River Usk.

The East Usk Lighthouse

The Wales Coast Path continues around the southern edge of the Newport Wetlands Reserve and links with a number of short trails.

The ‘Wetlands Trail’ is the longest, a loop walk around the Reserve of about 3 miles. It’s a nice easy going walk on level footpaths alongside reed-beds and through woodland, before linking back along the Wales Coast Path.

The RSPB Wetlands Centre has superb facilities with a shop, very nice cafe, facilities and toilets available. It’s definitely worth a stop here on a walking route.

More information on the RSPB Wetlands Visitor Centre can be found here.

Having reached the point where the trail rejoins the Wales Coast Path we retraced our steps, heading back to Goldcliff. Just a short distance away is the village pub, The Farmer’s Arms. We didn’t call in on this occasion but have visited previously when in the area. It’s a traditional local pub and is very convenient for coast path walkers seeking refreshments and a comfort break on the route.

Route Recap

So a very easy going walk on level terrain with good footpaths around the reserve. The distance was recorded at 10.94 miles in just under 4 hours.

Goldcliff to Newport Wetlands, just under 11 miles, there and back.

Goldcliff to Redwick ~ walk along the seawall

Between Redwick and Goldcliff, the Wales Coast Path distance is 2.5 miles along the top of the seawall. This section can be completed either as a standalone ‘out and back’ of 5 miles in under 2 hours, or as part of an extended walk with Goldcliff to Wetlands.

It’s a very easy going walk on the level grass surface atop the seawall, and can be a very pleasant early evening stroll from Goldcliff when the incoming tide is rolling in at the shoreline.

Completing the section between Goldcliff and Redwick, a ‘there and back’ walk of 5 miles.

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