Natural England - Lady Park Wood NNR

Lady Park Wood NNR

Lady Park Wood NNR is part of a large woodland complex in the Wye Valley.

Lady Park Wood NNR

County: Gloucestershire

Main habitats: Woodland

Why visit: Lady Park Wood straddles the border between England and Wales in the beautiful Wye Valley 3 km north east of Monmouth. It forms part of the Wye Valley Woodland Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

Lady Park Wood is a prime example of unmanaged, near natural woodland. The reserve was established by the Forestry Commission in 1945 as a long-term ecological project. Research aims to explore the natural processes that take place without human intervention such as tree felling, thinning or coppicing. More details are available in an information leaflet: (119kb)pdf document.

Star species: Lady Park Wood hosts an amazing array of biodiversity. Beside the common tree species of beech, oak, ash, wych elm and birch, it is also home to both native species of lime (small leaved and the rare large leaved lime) as well as a rare species of whitebeam (Sorbus eminens). The shrub layer is dominated by hazel but also contains dogwood, spindle, hawthorn, privet and holly. Ground cover mainly consists of dog's mercury and bramble but plants of interest include wood barley, fingered sedge, wild madder, bird's-nest orchid, toothwort, lily-of-the-valley and herb paris.

Lady Park Wood has a rich breeding bird community which includes all three woodpecker species, redstart, wood warbler, tawny owl, pied flycatcher and treecreeper. A variety of rare bats have been recorded in the NNR, in particular greater and lesser horseshoe bats which are found here in significant numbers.

Please note that access is limited to public rights of way. Other access is by permit only.

Managing the reserve

The reserve is divided into two sections: a non-intervention and an intervention area. The non-intervention area forms the biggest part of the reserve. In the past, fallow deer have caused considerable damage through browsing, suppressing any saplings and new vegetation growth. Today, a high fence prevents any deer from entering the area, thus allowing natural regeneration to take place.

In the non-intervention area, access is restricted for safety reasons. This is due to a high proportion of dead wood in the canopy, part of natural woodland processes, which can cause injury when falling. A public footpath runs along the perimeter of the resereve, allowing a glimpse of the goings-on.

The intervention part of the reserve serves for comparison with the unmanaged area. Here, normal silvicultural practices are still carried out by the Forestry Commission; timber is removed and replanting takes place. There are public and permissive footpaths.

How to get there

We encourage the use of sustainable transport whenever possible. Lady Park Wood is situated 2 miles north-east of Monmouth, near Symonds Yat.

By cycle

Monmouth is at the end of Route 30external link of Sustrans National Cycle Network.

By train

The nearest train stations are in Lydneyexternal link and Chepstowexternal link.

By bus

Bus services run from Chepstow to Monmouth and from Lydney to villages near the reserve. See the Transport Directexternal link website.

By car

Access to the reserve is from the A40 and A4136. There is no car park at the reserve; the nearest parking is across the river at the Biblins Bridge campsite.

On foot

Two major trails pass near the reserve: the Wye Valley Walkexternal link and the Wysis Wayexternal link.

Visiting the reserve

The nearest toilet is at the campsite across the river at Biblins Bridge, available between March and October. Other facilities are available in Monmouth and local villages.

Further information

To find out more about the reserve, contact site staff on 01452 813982.