The Gwent Levels Futurescape is renowned for the specialist wildlife it supports – a rich patchwork of different habitats and landscapes sweeping the Severn Estuary coastline from Cardiff past the Second Severn Crossing and beyond.
This Futurescape covers the Newport Wetlands National Nature Reserve, Magor Marsh Wildlife Trust reserve and several other key sites where organisations are working together to save wildlife for future generations. This is one of the largest ‘hand crafted’ landscapes in the UK, and is internationally recognised for archeological remains and the distinct field patterns first reclaimed from the sea in Roman times.
It covers approximately 57 square kilometres and is a mixture of coastal floodplains, drainage channels known locally as ‘reens’, saltmarshes and mudflats. It’s this mix of wetlands which allows so many species of insects, animals and birds to find homes here.
Wildlife knows no boundaries, which is why we are working together with partners, conservation groups, communities, local farmers and individuals across Wales as part of our Futurescapes project.
Reserves and other protected areas are a key part of Futurescapes. They provide core areas for nature to thrive and eventually repopulate the surrounding landscapes. The key RSPB reserves within this Futurescape are:
This nature reserve offers a haven for wildlife on the fringes of the city, but is also a great place for people, boasting a new RSPB visitor centre, a café, shop and children's play area.
We're working to safeguard and improve special places for nature. Each Futurescape contains a range of initiatives in addition to our reserves. The combination of these creates better conditions for wildlife across the countryside.
A new motorway could be built south of Newport across the nationally important Gwent Levels. Three new road options have been proposed, all of which have worrying implications for this fragile wetland landscape. The Welsh Government has selected what environmental organisations have agreed would be the most damaging of all – the "Black Route". The Welsh Government is now facing a legal challenge from Friends of the Earth Cymru over the way it has acted.
Futurescapes is all about collaboration. There are many organisations and people involved in managing land in the Gwent Levels. Our challenge is working together to find ways of making more space for nature. To achieve this we’re working with:
Saving special places
Victory for Harapan Rainforest
Beautiful Hutan Harapan forest is a precious remnant of the rainforest that once covered much of Sumatra (Photo: RSPB-images/Steve Roland) Hutan Harapan is one of the last remaining areas of dry lowland Sumatran forest and is among the most th...(r...Posted 12/04/2019 by Heather Mitchell
Rila Mountains: The Final Piece in Bulgaria's Protected Area Network for Birds
Daniel Pullan, our International Casework Manager writes: I was thrilled last week when my Bulgarian colleague Irina Mateeva told me that the Bulgarian Government had designated the last part of the Rila Mountains as a Special Protection Area. This a...Posted 04/04/2019 by Heather Mitchell
A net gain for nature
How can built development leave the natural environment in a better shape than it was before? This is the question at the heart of Defra’s recent consultation on ‘biodiversity net gain’. We know from the State of Nature 2016 report ...(read more)Posted 01/03/2019 by Simon Marsh
What will the new NPPF mean for places, people and nature?
On Tuesday the Government published a new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for England. You can see our previous commentary on the draft version here , here and here . The NPPF sets out the Government’s planning policies for England...(read ...Posted 27/07/2018 by Steph