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Access and Walks in Cadora Woods

Cadora Woods is actually made up of three areas of woodland: Bigsweir Wood (45ha), a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Cadora Wood and Causeway Grove.

The woodland is crossed by several public footpaths as well as the Offa’s Dyke Path National Trail.
There are also a number of permissive paths. A leaflet detailing the network of paths is available from local Tourist Information Centres and there are information boards at both the Bigsweir Wood car park and at the entrance to the woods off Coxbury Lane.

Footpath terrain varies from level, but sometimes rutted and muddy tracks, to narrow and rough. The Offa’s Dyke Path through the woods is narrow in places.

Bigsweir Wood: A picnic bench accessible by all has been installed at Bigsweir Wood car park. There is also a moderately-challenging circular trail within Bigsweir Wood, which is waymarked.

Highbury Fields: The wood lies close to Cadora Woods and has an information board, mown tracks and a bench. It can be accessed on foot via the Offa’s Dyke Path.
Causeway Grove: Access within the wood is difficult.

Redbrook Walk

One of the most popular walks providing access to all the woods (Cadora Wood, Bigsweir Wood, and nearby Highbury Fields), including access to Offa’s Dyke, is the Redbrook Walk. Depending on the route taken, the distance is either 5.6km (three and a half miles), or 10.5km (six and a half miles), taking between two and four hours respectively. There is a large car park on the right as you enter Redbrook from Monmouth on the A466. Take the footpath between the football pitch and river to enter Redbrook Millennium Green. Follow the path to the main gates and cross the road by zebra crossing to start the walk.

The terrain is moderate with steep sections, particularly from the ascent out of Redbrook where there are many shallow steps and a surfaced lane.

The routes through the woods are on clear, wide tracks, while rutted stretches will be muddy in wet weather. The descent back to Redbrook is down a steep, grassy bank, while there are eight stiles on the main route.

• Starting from the Bell Inn, Redbrook, turn right past Lavender Cottage and follow the Offa’s Dyke signpost up 67 shallow steps to the lane at the top. Cross straight over, continuing steeply uphill. After 0.4km (quarter of a mile), ignore the Offa’s Dyke signpost left, and follow the lane to enter woodland. The terrain will begin to level out. After another 0.4km the track bends left and climbs past Highbury Fields on the right. Highbury Fields is a long, thin meadow owned and managed by the Woodland Trust. The tree-lined avenue continues past Coxbury Grove on the left.

• After 1.6km (one mile), the track changes depending on the weather conditions. In wet weather, take the track as it bends to the left, ignoring the gate into woodland to the right. Follow a scenic green lane for a further 0.4km (quarter of a mile), continuing on to where the Offa’s Dyke footpath crosses the lane, until reaching a footpath to the right. This follows a sunken lane. Take this footpath, go over the stile after 60m, and follow the way-marker post across a field. Go through the kissing gate and take the path, keeping the derelict building on the right.

• Cross Offa’s Dyke’s footpath to go down the right side of field. Pass through the broken wall by the large pollarded tree, go down to the site and continue down through the trees. Turn left along the track at the way-marker post. If ground is relatively dry, bear right at the five-bar gate (ignored in wet weather) and go through the gap, down into Cadora Grove. Continue on this steep downhill track until it levels out and eventually comes to a junction with a footpath to the left. This is the 3.2km (two miles) mark.

•  Continue on the track, gently down into the valley. Follow the route, bending sharply to the right, and turn left onto the track to the bottom. Take this route down and through beautiful broadleaved woodland. Select the unmarked footpath left, 100 metres before the Woodland Trust car park to Bigsweir Wood, and go through the squeeze gap. Turn left, and through the next squeeze gap, following the sign for Offa’s Dyke footpath. This is the 5.6km(three and a half miles) mark.

•  After the white houses on the right, bear left and take an ancient, undulating path over a stile to leave the woodland, and follow the edge of a meadow. Continue on the path up through scrub at the end, and over a stile. Carry on, crossing three more stiles, to enter Woodland Trust property at the edge of Cadora Woods. Leave this recently thinned woodland via the kissing gate and cross the top of the field, heading towards a farmhouse. At the way-marker, continue straight on. This is the 5 mile (8km) mark.

•  As views of wooded valley open up, head for the top corner of the field (may be muddy in wet weather). Continue along the top field edge and pass through the kissing gate. Follow the path up to the left to the next kissing gate, cross the track and go over the stile into English Nature’s Highbury Wood National Nature Reserve. Take the path through this coppiced woodland, known for its dormice and lime kilns. After about 1.6km (one mile), the path starts to descend steeply to a stile and a lane. Turn left, and walk down the lane for approximately 100 metres before turning left to continue on the Offa’s Dyke footpath, admiring views of the Wye Valley below. Follow the path steeply downhill to a stile. Turn right down the lane, and cross over at the bottom to take steps back to the main road.