Typical section of saltmarsh at the Secern estuary

Wales Coast Path: Redwick to Newport

July 23, 2012 · 28 comments

Distance: about 13 miles (but another mile if you are going to the train station) Walked May 12th 2012.

In my first post, I had left the path at Magor so today I drove from home to Severn Tunnel Junction Station leaving the car next to the nearby allotments, so I didn’t pass through Redwick on this occasion.  I picked up the path at Rogiet Moor Reen, just after the firing range detour I mentioned in the last post. However, on July 11th I did walk along the path from Redwick.

All but the first ½ mile of  this section of the path is within Newport City Council. Please report any problems to Andrew.Briscombe@newport.gov.uk

Starting from the Church, walk along the road towards the Rose Inn and take the first road on your right. About 100 yards down the road a footpath heads off left into a field. This takes you to a bridge over Windmill Reen where you turn left and re-join the path shortly after.

Windmill Reen taken from the Wales Coast path. Photograph by Charles Hawes. Walking in Wales

Continue the walk on the grass topped levee. After a short while a double pipeline running from the Llanwern Steel Works passes through the levee. These pipes take treated effluent and storm water into the Sever. About a ½ mile later the pink painted Porton House sits just below the levee. It’s a striking building both for its architecture and its lurid pink colour. But be cautious if you feel like taking a snap.

Porton House photographed from the wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes. Walking in Wales.

I was shouted and sworn at when I had done so and the angry occupant started chasing after me. It was only when I looked back that I saw the array of “dos” and “don’ts” that had been placed on a sign by the path, including “No Photos”.

The Welcome to Porton House photographed from the wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes. Walking in Wales.

(NB If you’re on a public right of way – such as a public pavement, footpath or public highway – you are free to take photographs for personal and commercial use so long as you are not causing an obstruction to other users or falling foul of anti-terrorism laws or The Official Secrets Act.  Property owners have no right to stop people taking photos of their buildings, so long as the photographer is standing in a public place ).

The levee curves as it approaches Gold Cliff (the name originating from a limestone cliff where, seen from the estuary, a bed of yellow mica glitters in the sun).

The approach to Gold Cliff taken from the Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes. Walking in Wales.

The path leaves the coast at this point, to be diverted round a private property and the remains of a Benedictine priory. It then heads north and skirts the Mireland Pill Reen behind which are several small lakes and observation huts for bird watchers. This is part of the Newport Wetlands Nature Reserve.  There is nothing to stop you climbing up the steps of one of the observation points that are open. But without powerful binoculars there wasn’t much to see on this visit.

Newport Wetlands Nature Reserve on the Wales Coast Path photographed by Charles Hawes. Walking in Wales.

This area is within the Caldicot Levels– a vast area of 17.500 acres of low lying alluvial land. This is what you are looking out over on the land side . The area has been flooded and then reclaimed form the sea since at least Roman Times, and is registered as a Landscape of Outstanding Historic Interest. The path joins a minor road at the village.After a few hundred yards on this road, the path heads for the coast again along the north side of this nature reserve.  There is an opportunity for refreshment  at The Farmers Arms in Goldcliff village, just 50 yards further along the road.

After about half a mile you return to the road you have just left and then meander through fields on the south side of this road until bringing you to a smaller metalled road heading south-west. This becomes a track (Cycleway No. 4) and then you find yourself on the concrete edged seawall once more.

Breakwater jutting into the Severn estuary on the Wales Coast Path, photographed by Charles Hawes. Walking in Wales.

You are approaching the mouth of the Usk. The sea wall gives you a fine view over the estuary. To your right is the largest section of the Newport Wetlands Reserve. A decrepit breakwater juts out to the estuary. The wide grit track runs along the southern edge of the reserve. To your right are thick reed beds hiding deep water pools and  paths that allow visitors access to the several separate lakes.

Reed beds of the Newport Wetlands Nature Reserve taken from the Wales Coast path. Photograph by Charles Hawes. Walking in Wales.

After half a mile you pass a white painted lighthouse.

Lighthouse  by Uskmouth taken from the Wales Coast Path. Photograph by Charles Hawes. Walking in Wales.

The view of the Uskmouth power stations and the overhead pylons begins to fill your view (gas fired on your left, coal on the right) until the path turns sharply to the right and you are walking right alongside them.

The gas-fired power station at Uskmouth taken from the Wales Coast Path. Photgraph by Charles Hawes. Walking in Wales.

It is difficult not to be impressed by the engineering of these massive works. I actually felt excited to be so close to them (I don’t know what that says about me). The gas fired station has only been generating electricity since 2010. Its capacity is 824 megawatts.In many ways the coal fired station is the more interesting. It was built in 1959! It’s capacity is 393 megawatts, which is enough to power 360,000 homes, or the surrounding area of Newport. Between 1998 and 2001 the station was given a £120 million refurbishment in 1998/99 to bring it up to date with legislative requirements. The station is currently one of the cleanest coal-fired power stations in the United Kingdom, and is fitted with Flue Gas Desulpherisation equipment and low Nitrogen Oxide  burners. It also burns biomass, as well as coal, for its emissions to be considered closer to being carbon neutral. The station does not take water from or dump waste water into the River Usk. It instead uses secondary treated sewage water in its cooling system.

The Path passes the entrance to the power stations and brings you to the car park of the Wetlands Reserve Visitor Centre– an excellent place with a super café and friendly staff.  And toilets.

Newport Wetlands visitor centre on the Wales Coast Path. Photograph by Charles Hawes. Walking in Wales.

I got myself slightly off track as the path crosses the reserve and heads for the village of Nash.  You want to be heading for the church and the large building of The Waterloo Inn although the path actually crosses the road where it bends to head towards the village. Cedar House Bed and Breakfastis just a quarter of a mile from the village. The path continues down a track and crosses  a footbridge off to the right. It then heads due north through several very boggy fields and over a series of footbridges passing a small plantation of trees on the right. Ahead is another power source- two wind turbines. The path can be a little difficult to follow here but keep the turbines more or less ahead of you and you shouldn’t go wrong. After several more footbridges the path re-joins the track of Cycle way No.4 and turns west. You are entering the midst of a complex of light industrial works on the outskirts of Newport.

View of the Usk as you approach Newport on the Wales Coast Path. Photograph by Charles Hawes. Walking in Wales.

You are heading for the dockside. The track arrives at a road. Follow the road under a railway bridge, passing the entrance to Cemex Aggregates on the left and Marshalls on the right. The path then skirts along the top of the muddy banks of the Usk. At one point you cross over a small bridge under which a conveyor belt runs to awaiting ships on the riverside. Ahead is the Usk Transporter Bridge .Built in 1906 it is still in use today and is one of only 8 working examples in the world. If you arrive at the right time, my advice is to take the bridge across the river. The gondola takes cars and foot passengers.

The official path takes you around a long stretch of light industry and alongside the very busy and noisy A48 and has little to recommend it.   And it’s been a long day and if you are staying in Newport you still need to get to your accommodation – or indeed to get to the Bus or train Station. If you decide to keep to the official path, you follow the road, passing playing fields on your right and passing under an orange painted railway bridge to a road junction. Turn left here and after about half a mile, after passing under another railway bridge, you reach the A48. Turn left and walk over the road bridge. The only compensation for keeping to the path is a good view over the Usk and of the Transporter Bridge.  The path then follows the A48 for about a mile. And a tiresome mile it is too.

If you are heading for the station or the town centre you need to turn right at the first roundabout. The station is about a mile away; this road also takes you past the bus station.

Newport

I will probably have the mafia after me for this but despite getting married there, seeing a great Van Morrison and Georgie Fame gig, Anne passing her driving test there (first time, I cried) and it prompting one of the best YouTube videos (though really to get this you have to know the place a little), I have never liked Newport. Its main shopping streets are dull and I have spent far too long in the Royal Gwent Hospital. Sorry. I am not alone here – see this link. So the best I can offer is this link to a more upbeat guide to  the City’s facilities. The Waterloo Hotel and Bistro is about half a mile after this roundabout on the right hand side in Alexandra Road. I haven’t been in yet but its the only place to stay that is actually on the path in Newport. Comments welcome.

The Waterloo Hotel and Bistro on the Wales Coast Path. Photograph by Charles Hawes. Walking in Wales.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

mike gerrard July 23, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Not surprised he didn’t want it photographed! What a hopeless piece of tat. I think I might complain to the police that it has given me offence to see it on my computer screen. Perhaps they’ll send a bobby round to ask him to prune it – but which bit would you leave as inoffensive? I would defend anybody’s right to live in a pink hat box if thats what they like, but not if they are going to be a controlling prat about people snapping it.

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Charles July 23, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Quite! Further along at Gold Cliff there’s a big dragon in a garden that I bet you wouldn’t like much either. But there they protected us by giving it a wide berth.

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Lynds Jennings July 23, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Really lovely descriptions of the walk again-stunning views……… well apart from the pink palace,if you don’t want people photographing it why on earth paint it that colour ,could have blended in to its place in the landscape a bit more 😉 Still,it can’t detract from its surroundings for long ! Great stuff.

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Charles July 23, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Thanks Lynds! There’s a painful finish in the next installment- out next week. X

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Cabernat July 23, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Great read & I agree with the others about that awful house. They must have a bob or two but no braincells. The pictures are wonderful & I particularly like the one of Gold Cliff.

Mary

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Charles July 23, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Thanks Mary. You know I quite liked the house, though wasn’t sure about the colour. The bloke I definitely didn’t get on with!

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Anne Wareham July 23, 2012 at 11:19 pm

You’re not safe out there by yourself.

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Charles July 24, 2012 at 7:56 am

I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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Maggie July 24, 2012 at 9:45 am

Charles, this is brilliant, both script and photos! It actually makes me want to walk the route which, having spent many years working at Leeway nearby with lunchtimes to spare, I have always thought of as totally flat and dull and to be avoided at all cost. xxx

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Charles July 24, 2012 at 10:03 am

Thanks Maggie. I am aiming for the blog to be an enjoyable read first and foremost, as well as a useful guide to would be walkers. More next week. Do subscribe.x

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Sandy July 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Charles I so enjoyed this, felt as though I was on the walk with you. How trite of the Pratt in the pink house, the sign says more about him than the ghastly pink. Quite agree about Newport sadly, only ever been there once and couldn’t wait to escape. However, so much of interest in surrounding area and thanks for this tour.

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Charles July 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Sandy, that’s great feedback, thanks. Do check out that link I made to the YouTube video. It’s such an excellent parody. More fun next week when I tackle serious blisters.

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Paul Steer July 25, 2012 at 11:54 am

Sorry I don’t like the pink house, it does not sit in its landscape very well, probably needs to develop a mature garden around it and mellow a bit for my taste. Perhaps the angry man should have built elsewhere if he doesn’t want people to gawp and take photos…or perhaps he thinks it is an ugly house too ! Enjoying the journey and the photographs.

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Charles July 25, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Ha ha. Well it’s clearly thumbs down for Porton House! We will be entering Caravan Park territory, soon. That’s something I really don’t like!

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Tracy Burton August 21, 2012 at 11:48 am

Great blog.
We, too, have walked this stretch of the Wales Coast Path as part of a longer, circular walk. It was Boxing Day 2008 and the pink house showed signs of partying the night before. While there was no sign of the angry man, there was a very bored golden retriever locked outside the house and eager to stretch its legs. Despite our efforts to dissuade it, the dog – a friendly bitch – followed us to Redwick village where its complete lack of any road sense was alarming – and very dangerous to passing cars. Eventually, we had no choice but to abandon our planned walk, retrace our steps and return the dog to the pink house. It’s a good job we are a little bit more compassionate than this idiot or his dog would probably have been flattened by a large vehicle that day. It won’t affect your coastal route, but in case you venture inland, there’s another angry, threatening man in the vicinity of The Farmer’s Daughter, Bassaleg. Just so you know!

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Charles August 21, 2012 at 2:56 pm

This guy in the Pink House is causing all sorts of worries! How frustrating for you. I hope the owner gave you some appreciation. And thanks for the tip.

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Tracy Burton August 21, 2012 at 11:50 am

PS We’ve eaten at The Waterloo twice (at lunchtime) and the food and service is absolutely superb. It’s not cheap but well worth a visit for a special occasion. It’s been refurbished to the highest standards and the staff go that extra mile. The liquorice icecream sounds terrible but is really delicious.

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Charles August 21, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Thanks very much for the recommendation. Do you know anyone that has stayed there?

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Tracy Burton August 25, 2012 at 7:50 pm

I’m afraid I don’t but if the service/accommodation is as good as the food then I think it’s a safe bet.

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Kath Griffin October 24, 2012 at 11:02 pm

Hi I have only just come across this site while looking for walks around the Wetlands etc. Last week we walked from the Wetlands along the front passed the lighthouse as far as you can go keeping straight going through a gate and coming out onto a ‘B’ road at the end but wasn’t sure how to get out to the ‘pink house’ from where we were on the road so we sat on a log on the side of the road and had our flask of coffee then went back the same way which is quite boring doing that. Our dog is blind and is 10 yrs old so couldn’t have really gone much further as she gets tired (bit like me) but would like to further next time on our own so how would we do that? About the pink house we have walked out there a few times by just parking the car in the car park but have always been afraid of the cows having the dog with us and the last time back in the summer we managed to get to the ‘horrible house’ and sat on the wall to have our coffee when their dog came at us and barked it’s head off and frightened me to death as our dog cannot see and he started her off so it all ended in a total disaster and put us off going that way but would like to do a circular one on our own next time so any tips? about 6 to 8 miles maybe? great site!!

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Margaret June 18, 2014 at 7:31 pm

This is a great site. It is much more useful than the official one and fun to read. My husband found it prior to us starting at Chepstow. We hope to get onto Offa’s Dyke at the end and thereby do a full loop.
By the way the mad man in the Pink House has increased his arsenal of animal weaponry since the last comment. We were there last Sunday. We approached with caution, having read your description. As we approached he came out with one of his dogs and stared at us, presumably to check that we did not break any rules, and all the time time his dog was barking. Next, as we moved along the path, an obese, old and very smelly labrador started following us and barking. We kept on walking through a gate but the labrador came around the side and continued to follow us. After that, standing across the path, was a large black horse. Most horses move when you meet them out walking but not this one. My husband went to walk between it’s hind quarters and the sea wall but it laid back it’s ears and looked like it was getting ready to kick. My husband then went in front of it but in doing so had to stray off the path. By now I was holding our dog and having seen the signs about not straying off the path, destroying dogs etc , I was not happy about following my husband. So, being a farmer’s daughter and having experience of horses I shouted at it to get out of the way. It was shocked into doing so, I walked passed it, but within minutes it was back in position, with it’s haunches facing the sea wall. I can only imagine that the troll that lives there had taught the horse to stay there.
Anyway, he is very good story fodder!
Thank you.

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Charles June 19, 2014 at 10:26 am

Hello Margaret.Thank you for your nice comments. Yes, the “official” site is pretty lame and dealing with their maps is a real pain. I loved your update on the horrors of the Pink House. Really made me laugh. Are you doing the whole path then? Wonderful. Hope to hear from you again.

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wendy August 19, 2014 at 6:46 pm

Brilliant site and the photos are stunning,I am lucky enough to live at Goldcliff close to the coastal path and have opened a little snack shop in a spare room of my bungalow catering for visitors to the Coast path with hot & cold drinks & snacks to consume on or off the premises.
Cycle racks provide and dogs welcome. nothing fancy but if you fancy a drink and snack at very reasonable prices please pay me a visit

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Charles August 19, 2014 at 6:51 pm

Thanks for getting in touch and that’s great about your snack shop. Is there a sign from the path?

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wendy August 19, 2014 at 7:22 pm

Thank you for your fast reply.

I put signs up on the coast path and within a day or so they disappear ( the people who live on the seawall i think ),

We are on the Newport coast path map.

Our snack shop is at the bottom of the steps ( between The pink porton house and the pink house with the Dragon in the garden ).

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Charles August 20, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Hmm. people do get tetchy about signs. I don’t like over-signing myself but a discreet sign indicating a useful facility would seem to have little to obect to. Hope it goes well.

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Jon Combe September 20, 2014 at 8:09 pm

I think in the last year or so the high level paths on the Newport Transporter bridge have been opened to the public. I did this today and it is a fantastic way to cross the river (if a little scary), as there are a lot of steps up and the walkways on the top are just wire mesh, so you can see straight down to the river far below. It costs £2.75 to walk across the high level path and for this you are also allowed to cross on the gondala too if you want (e.g. to get back). The last permitted entry is at 4pm though – I had to walk fast to make that but glad that I made the effort. I believe it is closed through the winter though. Wonderful blog by the way.

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Charles September 21, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Most interesting, thank you!

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