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More about Cefn Ila

Explore this developing woodland site in the rolling Welsh countryside, which offers a variety of habitats and many interesting features that give an insight into its intriguing past.

Though Cefn Ila (name meaning Ila's ridge) is a developing woodland site, it has an intriguing history and contains many features which will spark your curiosity about its past. Set in the rolling Welsh countryside and surrounded by a wider landscape of small woodlands and farmed pasture, it is within walking distance of the historic town of Usk yet still manages to retain a feeling of seclusion and tranquillity. A beautiful manor house once stood on the site amongst a landscaped Victorian pleasure ground, and the relics of its past are waiting to be discovered, explored and enjoyed.

A variety of routes pass through the site and on a clear day there are excellent views over the rolling hills to the more dominant Black mountains and the Skirrid and Sugar Loaf in the distance.

Cefn Ila More Info
Species-rich grassland at Cefn Ila.

Since the Woodland Trust Wales (Coed Cadw) acquired the 72 acre site in 2007, over 36,000 trees have been planted which are already well on their way to becoming young broadleaf woodland. This new woodland forms an integral part of a mosaic of habitats which make up Cefn Ila, including species-rich grassland, hedgerows, wild flowers, an arboretum containing some notable mature and exotic conifer trees, an ancient orchard with local heritage apple and pear trees, and the remnants of a walled garden.

With funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, we are working in partnership with the Usk Rural Life Museum to bring the story and history of Cefn Ila alive through events and exhibitions. See related article on the right for full details.

Setting

This strategically important 72 acre site is situated just a mile from the pretty historic town of Usk and its river, in a rolling landscape setting of small woodlands and farmed pasture at the heart of the beautiful Usk Valley. It is only a few miles from Wentwood Forest, the largest ancient woodland site in Wales which is already partly in Woodland Trust ownership.

OS Explorer 152, Landranger 171, grid reference: SO359005

Access and walks

The site is about one mile from the town of Usk, which is approximately 20 minutes walking distance. A public footpath leads from a point between houses just to the north of the road bridge in Usk and divides approximately half way along its length, with the northern spur linking into the access track at Cefn Ila and the southern spur just clipping the southern boundary of the site.

You can access the site from the car park as well as the public footpath, which runs from Usk.

Directions

By car
From Usk take the A472 towards Pontypool, heading across the bridge over the River Usk. Turn left immediately after the bridge, heading towards Caerleon. After approximately half a mile, turn right at the crossroads in the village of Llanbadoc, opposite the church, sign-posted to Cefn Ila. Travel along this narrow unclassified road for approximately three quarters of a mile and the track to Cefn Ila is to the right. Look for the sign opposite a lodge house that lies in the junction of the access track.

There is a car park on the left hand side of this track at the entrance to the Woodland Trust land which has capacity for up to 10 cars. There is also a public car park in Usk plus a small County Council car park along the Pontypool Road, just to the north of the start of the public footpath.

By bus
Several buses operate from Cwmbran (7.5 miles) and Newport (14 miles) to Usk, and from Usk the number 60 bus runs along the A472 and stops at St Madoc's Church in Llanbadoc.

By train
The nearest train stations are at Cwmbran (7.5 miles) and Newport (14 miles) from where several buses run to Usk. There are also trains from Cardiff, Swansea and Abergavenny which take you to Cwmbran or Newport.

For further information on public transport, contact visit traveline

By bike
Using the national cycle network, the road which passes the site is on Regional Cycle Route 30.

Nearest amenities

Public conveniences
The nearest are in Usk town centre car park, close to the Usk Rural Life Museum.

Refreshments
A variety of eateries can be found at Usk. Contact the Wales Tourist Information Centre for details.

Accommodation and tourist information
Accommodation from camp sites and guest houses to five star hotels can be found in and around Usk. More details at the Wales Tourist Information Centre

Entry into our woods is free but please donate now to help us care for them.