Highbury Wood NNR is a link in an almost unbroken chain of ancient woods stretching from Chepstow to Ross-on-Wye.
Main habitats: Woodland
Area: 47 Ha
Site map: Nature on the Map.
It is a prime example of the diverse woodland for which the Wye Valley is famous.
View a map of the reserve: (139kb).
The ancient woodland of Highbury has unbroken links with the 'wildwood' which colonised the area after the last ice age. It has retained a great variety of plant and animals species and has survived into the present day largely due to its inaccessibility.
Much of the woodland canopy is dominated by ash, cherry and small-leaved lime with some mature beech. Large-leaved lime, wild service tree and whitebeam are among the scarcer trees. Yew trees are a particular feature of the reserve and some may be more than 300 years old. Alder dominates the lower slopes, and hazel - along with dogwood, wayfaring tree and spindle - forms the understorey throughout much of the wood.
The woodland has been coppiced for centuries and the presence of many species associated with the open and early stages of coppice growth has led Natural England to revive this form of management in part of the reserve.
Newly-coppiced areas offer open ground which favours plants such as primrose and early purple orchid. As the coppice regrows, the dense tangle of bramble and shrub offers protection and food to scrub-nesting birds such as blackcap and garden warbler. Another beneficiary is the dormouse which relies on a wide range of nuts, berries and, critically, honeysuckle.
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The reserve is 6 km south east of Monmouth. It lies on the eastern bank of the River Wye and is almost immediately adjacent the A466. The nearest villages are Redbrook (0.5 km to the north) and Newland (1 km to the north east).
By car, access to the reserve is via minor roads from the A466, A4136 and B4228.
The nearest train station is in Chepstow (15 km to the south) served by Arriva Trains Wales and there are bus services along the A466 from Chepstow to Monmouth via Redbrook. See Transport Direct for journey planning.
The nearest toilet and refreshment facilities are in local towns and villages.
There is a 2.5 km waymarked circular trail through the reserve and leaflets and interpretation panels are available for visitor information.
Please note that access to the site is limited to public rights of way.