More about Wentwood
The 353-hectare (873-acre) section of Wentwood owned by the Trust is part of a much larger area of forest, stretching over 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres). Once part of the hunting grounds of Chepstow Castle, it offers a wide variety of walks with some breathtaking views over the Severn Estuary. And its diversity of habitats means it’s home to some wonderful wildlife.
Today, Wentwood may appear to be largely coniferous but it is part of the largest block of ancient woodland in Wales. Despite many years of felling and replanting with non-native species, veteran broadleaved trees survive, including the magnificent Curley Oak, near to Wentworth Gate. It has an impressive six-metre girth, and its gnarled bark is adorned with lichens and mosses.
The site’s ground flora is redolent of ancient woodland too, with its carpets of vivid bluebells in springtime. And in autumn the woods erupt with an incredible array of colourful fungi. As well as the iconic spotted red caps of the fly agaric, you’ll come across the yellowish sulphur tuft, the crusty white earthball and the bright orange funnels of the chantarelle.
Wentwood’s size and diversity means it’s a haven for wildlife. Otters make their homes along river banks, dormice nest in the woods, and fallow and muntjac deer hide among the trees. And it’s bursting with birdlife – 75 species have been spotted here. Watch out for rosy-breasted bullfinches, tiny firecrests with their blazing crowns, and jays burying acorns in autumn.
The woodland is steeped in history too. There are Bronze Age tumuli on the ridges, and the remains of charcoal hearths that once fuelled local industry are dotted throughout. Wentwood also played an important role in the First World War, when it provided timber for the trenches.
In recent years, the Trust has restocked some sections with broadleaf trees, and is gradually thinning the conifers to let in more light and promote regeneration of the natural flora. Wentwood is a place to visit time and time again and watch it slowly return to its former glory.
Wentwood is around eight kilometres (five miles) north of the village of Llanfair Discoed, between Newport and Chepstow. The forest extends over 1000ha (2,500 acres), of which the Woodland Trust owns 353ha (873 acres). A small area is in private ownership and the remainder is managed by Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru/Natural Resources Wales.
OS Explorer 152, Landranger 172, ST405937.
Access and walks
The main entrances are located at the two car parks: Foresters’ Oaks and Cadira Beeches, on the road to Usk. There are a number of other entrances, including Wentworth Gate, which is closest to bus routes and to the ancient Curley Oak.
The forest has an extensive network of roads, tracks, footpaths and bridleways, with waymarking throughout, providing many walking routes. Paths are moderate with some short, steep climbs, and can be muddy in winter. The site is also a popular location for horse riding, orienteering and cycling, and includes the Wentwood Forest Downhill Trail for mountain biking.
The 77km (48-mile) Usk Valley Walk, from Caerleon to Brecon, passes through Wentwood. Download Wentwood walks (PDF, 0.3MB) for details of walking routes on the site.
Download Wentwood walks (PDF, 0.3MB) for details of walking routes.
There are no public toilets in the vicinity.
Foresters’ Oaks car park has picnic tables and barbecue sites. The Woodlands Tavern in Llanfair-Discoed serves food from Wednesday to Sunday (thewoodlandstavern.co.uk). Newport has a wide range of eating places.
Accommodation and tourist information
The nearest youth hostel is St Briavels Castle, Lydney, Glos GL15 6RG (0345 371 9042). For ideas of other accommodation see TripAdvisor.
There are Tourist Information Centres in Bridge Street, Chepstow, NP16 5EY ( 01291 623772); 5 High Street, Caerleon, NP18 1AE (01633 422656); or John Frost Square, Newport, NP20 1PA (01633 842962).
Looking to extend your adventure with a holiday in the great outdoors? Whether you’re glamping, camping or caravanning, our partner Freedom To Go can help you find the perfect pitch.
From Newport, take the A48 towards Llanfair Discoed, and then take the Usk Road. The Cadeira Beeches car park is on your left after around 4.8km (three miles), and the Forester’s Oak car park is west of Forester’s Oak. There's unofficial parking for several cars at Little Oak and Highest Point.
The nearest train stations are Newport (24km/15 miles) and Caldicot (7km/4.4 miles).
There are several buses a day between Newport and Chepstow. The bus stop on Greenmeadow Drive, Parc Seymour, is less than a mile from the Wentwood Gate entrance.