Cycling destinations: Newport Wetlands Reserve

A one hour ride from Cardiff lies the Newport Wetlands Reserve, an RSPB operated site, created to provide a new home for birds displaced by construction of the Cardiff Bay Barrage some 20 odd years ago. As a cyclist’s destination it has much to commend it. For starters, it lies on the Gwent levels, an area popular with cyclists for being flat, rural and largely traffic free. The levels provide one of the few places in South Wales that doesn’t pose hills – unless you seek them of course. Take a sharp left and within a very short space of time you’ll find as many hills as you fancy. Secondly, the centre has a rather good café with views over a large pond bordered by reeds and alive with small birds and in summer, dragonflies. It also sports plenty of cycle parking with storage both at the entrance to the café and in the main carpark. But the main reason for visiting? Frankly, it’s bloody beautiful. When a winter’s sun descends into a fire pit sunset over the Bristol channel, you’ll be glad you made the effort. Just remember those lights for the ride home.

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