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A complete loop of our great city, avoiding built-up areas and following off-road trails as much as possible. The trail could easily be split in two using the Newport to Caerleon cycle route.

Distance: 47 miles (76 km)

Start/Finish: Newport Transporter Bridge

Maps: OS Explorer 152 Newport & Pontypool, OS Explorer OL14 Wye Valley & Forest of Dean, and OS Explorer 154 Bristol West & Portishead. On-line interactive map available here.

Facilities: The route passes a number of pubs, shops, cafes and other facilities; these have been highlighted in the route directions.

Note: Paths may be muddy in winter and overgrown in summer (a pair of secateurs may be useful). Take care around livestock.

PDF: Download a PDF version of the Newport Ultra Marathon (without images).

 

As far as the Lighthouse Inn at St Brides, the route of the Newport Ultra follows the waymarked Wales Coast Path.

Transporter Bridge

1. From the western end of the transporter bridge (by the visitor centre), cross Usk Way at the traffic lights towards the West of England Tavern. Turn left along the pavement and join a residential road past the Waterloo Hotel. Cross Alexandra Road towards Fanny’s Rest Stop and join a minor road to the left of the cafe running parallel to the main road. As the road curves right, join a shared pavement and cycle path on the left. Take the next road on the left, Docks Way. Cross to the right-hand pavement at traffic lights and follow the road through a busy retail estate. Keep straight ahead at a roundabout (below a railway bridge) and cross more access roads leading to retail units. Where the road bears left to a roundabout, keep ahead along the path, which shortly forks. Take the tarmac path dropping to the right and join a road. After crossing a railway bridge, turn immediately left on to a lane alongside houses. Continue on to a tarmac path curving along the bottom edge of a grassy area. Emerge on the corner of a residential road and fork left on to a tarmac path heading up towards the Southern Distributor Road (SDR).

2. After a few metres, take the signed cycle path descending left to a subway below the SDR. Pass beneath the road and follow the bike path past Newport Saracens RFC and across the Ebbw River. After crossing fields, the path passes to the left of houses and emerges on a two-way road. Follow the shared pavement/cycle path to the left. Just before the pavement ends (opposite Duffryn High School), turn left through a waymarked gate and then immediately right to follow a grassy strip parallel to the road. Where the path rejoins the road, turn immediately left on to a wide gravel track.

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3. After about 800 metres, the main track turns sharp right towards New Dairy Farm. Keep ahead through two sets of gates, then take the track forking right below the grassy bank of the sea wall. The waymarked route continues along the main track, but after a right-hand bend there’s nothing to stop you joining the top of the wall. If you do so, rejoin the track to pass to the right of West Usk Lighthouse, then continue either along the track below the sea wall (the official trail) or along the grassy top of the wall itself (recommended). If following the official route, look out for waymarks directing you up on to the wall as you approach St Brides.

4. At St Brides, drop down stone steps on the right and into the car park of the Lighthouse Inn. Bearing right, join a road and follow it round a left-hand bend. As you approach a right-hand bend, look for a footpath signed through a gate on the left. Follow the right-hand edge of two fields to emerge in a yard by a metal barn. Keep straight across the yard and turn left on to a track. After about 50 metres, look for a footpath on the right. Follow the right-hand edge of two fields until you emerge on the B4239 in St Brides Wentlooge. Taking care, turn left towards a bus shelter. Opposite the shelter, turn right into Church Road. Follow the lane sharply left and then right, then continue on to a track to the left of farm buildings. With a gate ahead, follow the track to the right, then bear left to continue between a reen and hedge on a very rutted, possibly muddy track. You will eventually join an unspoilt grassy track, which continues alongside the reen to a junction of grassy trails. Turn right and follow a reen to a junction with a lane. Turn left.

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5. At a junction opposite a pylon (about 400 metres after crossing the railway line), turn left to join the new cycle route between Newport and Cardiff. This follows Percoed Reen as far as Hawse Lane then continues ahead into Tŷ Mawr Lane. About 1 km after joining the road (opposite Tŷ Mawr Lane Stables), cross a waymarked stile on the right into a field. Follow the right-hand edge of the field until level with a stile on the left. Cross to this, then keep ahead across two further fields to reach the corner of a gravel track. Cross a stile on the right, then head diagonally across a field to reach a stile into the grounds of St Mary’s Church, Marshfield. Cross the graveyard to the left of the church and join the paved path down to the lychgate.

6. Turn right on to a lane. As the road starts to curve left, fork right through a gate (‘GB’) and join a path between hedges. On emerging in a field, follow the hedge to the right. At the top of the field, cross a driveway to another field. As the field opens out, bear right to a stile and cross another tarmac drive. Head straight across the next field to a stile, then bear slightly left, down to a small wooden gate. Turn left to another small gate, then keep ahead along the left-hand edge of two further fields. Go through a kissing gate in the corner of the second field and follow the right-hand edge of a field towards farm buildings. After crossing a track, climb a stile on the right and bear left across a field towards a stile and gateway. Follow the boundary of the next field to the left until a stile leads on to a lane in front of houses.

Birds and fields

7. Turn right and follow the lane up to a junction with the A48. With great care, cross the road into the car park of the Coach and Horses. Walk up to the back of the car park (past the Premier Inn) and look for a path on the left just above a laundry storage unit. Climb through woods to a stile leading into a garden. Do not cross the stile, but go through a kissing gate on the right. Emerge from the trees and keep ahead through scrub to a tunnel below the A48(M). Once out of the tunnel, climb to the right until you emerge on the top of a steep grassy bank. Keep ahead across the level top of the bank, then look for a path dropping to the right where a small gate lies concealed in the undergrowth. Cross a footbridge and keep ahead across a field to stile. Continue ahead again towards a fence, beyond which lies the M4 motorway. Follow the fence up to the left and a footbridge across the motorway.

8. On the far side of the motorway, follow the field edge to the right, curving left and then right to pass just above a farm. Bear slightly right across the farm access track to a gap in the hedge (watch out for barking dogs!) and join a clear track running along the bottom of a field. At the end of the field, fork slightly left to continue along the bottom, right-hand edge of the next field. In the far corner, follow the hedge uphill to the left. Where the field boundary on your right turns slightly in to the left, look for a kissing gate on the right. Go through this and head diagonally across a smaller field to a kissing gate in the far corner. On the far side, follow the field boundary to the right. Where the field edge turns sharply right, bear slightly right across the field towards a telecommunications mast. Go through a small wooden gate on to a lane and turn left. At a junction with a wider road, keep straight ahead on to the smaller lane opposite.

9. About 700 metres after the crossroads, turn right over a stile next to a gate and follow a track along the right-hand edge of a field towards farm buildings. Do not enter the yard, but follow the waymark arrow to the left and join a path turning right behind the back of the sheds. Rejoin the main track at the far end of the buildings and follow the farm access road past the Farmers Daughter and across a wide open field to a junction with a lane. Cross over on to the smaller lane opposite and follow this down to a junction with the A468 in Rhiwderyn.

DSCF174710. Turn right and cross carefully towards Station House. Follow the pavement to the right (towards the Rhiwderin Inn) then downhill to the left below the railway. Cross the road ahead into Tredegar Street, passing the shop/post office and continuing through the traffic barrier to the stop of the street. Take the path dropping to the left and turn right to join a country lane. At a sharp left-hand bend, bear right to join a fenced path along the right-hand edge of a field. Drop left on a tarmac path to a footbridge over the Ebbw River. On the far bank, turn left and follow a riverside path for close to a kilometre and a half (keep straight ahead across a road after the first kilometre). Eventually, the path bears right and climbs between fences to a level crossing. Cross the railway and climb a steep flight of steps towards houses. Keep ahead to a junction with a two-way road and cross straight over to continue climbing along a steep, shady lane. On reaching the towpath of the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal, turn left. Cross the canal at the next bridge on the right and follow the path to the right through woodland. Enter a field and climb diagonally across the slope to the far corner. Go through a gateway on the left and follow the right-hand edge of a field straight up the hill towards houses on Pontymason Lane.

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11. Cross the road and bear slightly right across a grassy area towards Risca Community Campus. Turn left at the road and shortly continue on to a country lane climbing between hedges. At a T-junction, turn left and then immediately fork right on to a rougher lane/track below a house. Where this turns left, keep ahead on to a track, which shortly levels off near an access point to Craig y Wenallt. Here you can either follow the main track along the edge of the woods, with open views to the right, or climb the steps on the left to join a parallel path just inside the woodland edge. (If following the latter option, look out for the path on the right dropping back down to the track.) Beyond a farm, the track bears left into the woods and shortly crosses a stream. About 100 metres after the stream, look out for a waymarked path on the right descending steeply. At the bottom of the slope, cross Pant-yr-eos Brook and climb ahead through a field. Go through a gateway and continue ahead towards two closely spaced stiles leading on to a lane. Turn right and follow the lane as far as Henllys Church.

12. Opposite the church, cross a stile on the left into a field. Once past the garden on the right, bear right and descend towards a stile in a fence. Continue downhill to a footbridge over Nant y Pandy, then keep ahead across two more fields to a two-way road. Cross carefully, then keep ahead through another field to a gate into forestry. Follow the path through the woods until you emerge in a large field. Keep ahead along the right-hand edge to the far corner. Go through a gateway on the right and follow the field edge until a stile on the left leads on to an enclosed path (can be overgrown in summer). Follow this to a junction with a lane.

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13. Turn left along the lane, then fork right over a low gate on to a track. Keep ahead on to a path descending between fences until you emerge in a field behind a house. Bearing right, descend steeply to a stile and continue downhill through woods and bracken. Cross an open area to a gate and stile leading on to a lane and turn right. After a brief climb and descent, the lane becomes a wide two-way road. Continue ahead, reaching a junction by the Three Blackbirds after just over a kilometre. Cross straight over into Malthouse Lane. After about 400 metres, the lane widens and crosses a bridge over the A4042 dual carriageway.

14. Shortly after the road narrows between hedges again, look out for a stile on the right. Cross a field towards the far left-hand corner and climb a gate on to a gravel track. Turn right then, where the track splits, fork left on to a grassy track along the right-hand edge of a field. Reach a gate leading back on to a gravel track and keep ahead towards Park Farm. Continue through the farm (lots of gates), then climb through a field towards a stile on the bottom edge of Lodge Wood. Initially, take the path climbing left, then look for a level path on the right, which almost immediately bears left and continues straight up the hill. Keep ahead, climbing steeply, until the path levels off close to a fence on your left. The path then starts to descend. Follow a possibly overgrown path curving left until you emerge on a clearer level path running across the slope. Turn left, shortly reaching a kissing gate leading on to a lane below a house.

Amphitheatre 2

15. Bear right down the hill and keep ahead on to a residential road. With a T-junction ahead, take the first road on the right (‘Oakfield 2–18 Evens’). Just before the end of the road, turn left down a concrete path. Turn left at the bottom of the slope, then immediately right, down concrete steps. Head straight across another road and down further steps. Turn left at the bottom and then right down more concrete steps. Continue past the front of a garage and descend more steps to the end of another road. Turn right past a concrete bollard on to a tarmac path, shortly emerging on another residential road. Turn left and descend to a T-junction. Cross the road using the traffic island to the left of the junction and follow the pavement round on to Roman Reach. Take the third road on the left (Home Farm Crescent), bearing left at the end of the road on to the cycle path signed to Caerleon. Where this emerges on a lane (just after crossing the railway), bear left. At a left-hand bend, keep ahead along the edge of a field (football pitch to the left), then cross a road in front of Caerleon Comprehensive School. Follow the tarmac path past the Roman barracks to a parking area opposite the amphitheatre (there are toilets to the right, but they may be locked).

16.  Follow the pavement to the left and cross the road on to the signed cycle path (‘River Bridge’). This descends gently to a busy road near the Hanbury Arms. Cross to the pavement opposite and turn right. Follow the road over the River Usk, then keep ahead past the front of the Ship Inn. Immediately after the pub, turn left on to Lulworth Road (‘Usk Valley Walk’). This shortly turns sharply right into Isca Road and follows the river up to a T-junction with Bulmore Road opposite the Bell Inn. Turn left for around 300 metres, until you reach a footpath sign on the right. Follow a clear path steeply uphill into woods to an obvious fork a short distance beyond a kissing gate. Take the left-hand path (not the Usk Valley Walk) and climb diagonally through woodland. This permissive route eventually turns sharp right through a hedge to rejoin the official Usk Valley Walk on the edge of a golf course (an electricity pylon is immediately ahead). Turn left along a grassy path, shortly reaching a wide tarmac access road. Turn left and then right to continue along the waymarked path. With electricity wires ahead, turn right up a rough gravel track. Follow the wires to the right of a large car park (generally empty) and up to a junction with Catsash Road. Turn left and follow the road for a little under 2 km. (Take care: there is no pavement and the road can be quite busy.)

 

IMG_189117. About 200 metres after crossing a bridge over the noisy A449, turn left into Abernant Road. Climb until just before the third house on the right, where you turn right on to a narrow stony path (an old sunken track) below trees (in wet weather, there may be a fair bit of water running down this). Climb steeply until you emerge on a lane, then turn left to continue uphill. Where the main lane turns sharply right (after about 2 km), keep ahead on to a dead-end lane/track. Follow this up to the edge of Wentwood, then take the first path on the right, descending through trees to a junction with a forestry track. Turn right, shortly reaching a left-hand bend. At this point, look for the continuation of the path on the right. Almost immediately, reach a waymarked cross-path. Turn left and descend steadily. Follow waymarks to the left, round the back of a field, then bear right to drop to a stream and rough track. Take the path to the right of the stream before crossing it (possible wet feet) and join a lane by a house. With the building to your right, climb steps on the left alongside an outbuilding to a stile into a field. Climb ahead for a short distance to re-enter Wentwood, then continue along the inside edge of the woods, joining a rough track. With a bench ahead, fork right to continue along the bottom edge of the woods. At the next fork, keep right, along the smaller path. The path drops right to a stile.

18. Immediately after the stile, turn left up steps to a kissing gate. Continue along the bottom edge of a field above a garden and house. Just past a polytunnel, bear right through a small wooden gate and follow the waymarked path along a bank above an aluminium shed. The path shortly bears left, climbing through a copse and across a corner of a field to a lane. Cross the road to a woodland path signed to Arcade Road. Follow this through Castell-prin Wood to another lane and turn left. Shortly reach a T-junction. Bear slightly right across the lane to a stile into a field. Cross the field to a footbridge over a stream, then follow the right-hand edge of a number of small fields until you cross a grassy track. In the field immediately beyond the track, bear right towards White Brook Farm. Continue past the farm (now a grand house) and join a track along the bottom edge of a steeply sloping field. At the end of this long field is a gateway. Go through this, then turn immediately left over a double stile. Climb along the left-hand edge of a field to a stile into woods. Cross this – there is an old stone building immediately ahead – and turn right along a woodland path. This eventually comes back out into a field, the A48 near Penhow now visible below. Follow the left-hand field edge down to two gates (the woods are now to your left). Go through the gate on the right and follow a vehicle track down to the main road.

IMG_419319. At the A48, follow the pavement to the left, then cross carefully to join the driveway leading up to Penhow Castle. Curve left, up towards the church, then turn right at waymark post through a gate into a field. Immediately turn left, passing through a gate and climbing along a fence to the right of a house. Keep ahead to join a grassy track to the left of a stand of trees and continue straight across a field towards a fence on the far side. Turn right here and follow the fence downhill along a steepening grassy track. Turn left over a stile and walk down a field to a footbridge leading on to a lane.    Turn right and follow the lane for about 900 metres, where a footpath on the right is signed (‘Magor via Salisbury Farm’). Follow a track towards a church, then bear left across the grass to a field gate. Keep ahead across a field, crossing a double stile. Bear right in the next field, passing below and to the left of the higher wooded ground to your right. Once past the spur of the hill, ignore a track rising along the field edge and keep ahead towards a gate and stile. Bear slightly right in the next field towards Salisbury Farm. Use gates to cross a concrete track and pass to the right of a barn conversion. Keep ahead on to a drive past houses and join a gravel track. This swings sharply left and right before curving left and descending to the right of a lake.

IMG_189520. On meeting a lane, turn left and then immediately right. Straightaway, turn right again, through a gap into a field. Keep ahead and pick up the right-hand edge of a long field. Cross a gate at the end of the field and keep ahead along a worn path in the direction of the M4. Climb over two stiles and follow a concrete track alongside St Bride’s Brook and below the motorway. Ignore paths to the right and left and follow a grassy strip alongside the stream into Magor. At a road (Dancing Hill), turn right and drop to a T-junction with the B4245. Cross over and join a tarmac path opposite, shortly emerging on Newport Road at the back of the Wheatsheaf Inn. Follow the road right, then turn left at a mini-roundabout (mini-supermarket opposite). Take the next road on the right (Brassknocker Street). Where this curves left, turn right to enter The Square. There are a number of shops and takeaways here, as well as the Golden Lion.

21. Bear left in The Square and drop to a T-junction with a wider two-way road. Turn left and cross a railway bridge with care (no pavement). Straight after the bridge, follow the main road to the right (‘Llandevenny’). After about 150 metres, turn left on to a wide gravel track. Follow this across the Levels for almost 2 km, until you reach a T-junction with a road. Turn right, then take the first lane on the left (‘South Row’). After a further 1.6 km, enter Redwick, bearing to the right past the Rose Inn.

22. Immediately after the pub, turn left into the grounds of St Thomas’ Church. Follow a tarmac path to the left of the church, leaving the graveyard through a metal gate. Follow a grassy strip between gardens and a reen to a road and turn left. After a few metres, turn right through a waymarked metal field gate. Follow the left-hand edge of a field to a kissing gate. Bear slightly right across the next field to a gated footbridge. Cross this, then continue ahead along the left-hand edge of a field. In the next field, bear left towards a field gate in the far corner. Go through this, then turn immediately right over a concrete bridge across a wide reen. Turn left towards a field gate leading out on to the sea wall. Climb on to the wall and follow it to the right for about 3.5 km, as far as the car park at Goldcliff.

You are now back on the Wales Coast Path, which will take you all the way back to the transporter bridge in Newport. The only deviation from this waymarked path is for a short distance in Newport Wetlands Reserve.

IMG_190923. On reaching Goldcliff, drop down the steps on the right and follow the lane inland past the Seawall Tearooms. Just before a house on the right, turn left at a Wales Coast Path sign into a field. Follow the left-hand edge of two fields. At the end of the second field, turn right to continue along the left-hand edge. The path then continues through a long, narrow meadow, birdwatching hides on the bank to the left. Eventually join a gravel vehicle track, which leads up to a road. Turn left and follow the road through Goldcliff for around 300 metres. Just after a turn-off on the right, turn left on to a track past a Newport Wetlands noticeboard. The track runs below the sea wall before curving right, back towards the road in Goldcliff (there is no public access along the continuation of Boat Road along the coast). On re-emerging on the main road  in Goldcliff, turn left.

24. At the far end of a group of houses on the right, turn left into a field, again passing an information board for Newport Wetlands. Follow the path ahead then across a footbridge on the right. Keep ahead along the right-hand edge of two fields. In the far corner of the second field, go through a gate on the right into a third field and bear left along its left-hand edge (Goldcliff Road is visible across the hedge to the right). At the end of the field, follow the waymark arrow to the left and continue alongside wooden fencing. Where directed, enter a field on the right. The path follows the edge of the field, turning left and then right before emerging on a lane. Turn left and follow the road as far as a metal squeeze barrier preventing further access for traffic. Go through this and continue on a gravel path between hedges. The path emerges on the sea wall and continues in the direction of East Usk Lighthouse.

IMG_191525. Adjacent to the lighthouse, leave the Wales Coast Path and turn right to cross a wet, marshy area on pontoon boards. At a junction with a wide gravel path, turn right and then sharply left to continue on the main path. At a cross-track, keep straight ahead in the direction of the Newport Wetlands Centre. Pass to the left of the complex (toilets and cafe inside) and rejoin the Wales Coast Path in a wide tarmac area. Turn right on to an enclosed grassy track, following a sign for the transporter bridge, and continue as far as a junction with a more defined gravel track. Turning left, follow the track as far as an easily missed footbridge on the right (about 100 metres after the junction). Cross this and follow a clearly defined path across level fields (boardwalks have been installed across some of the potentially wetter sections). On entering a large field with St Mary’s Church, Nash, visible beyond, bear left, across the middle of the field, towards the far corner. Cross a footbridge here and follow the right-hand edge of the next field to a reen. Follow the reen to the left until a footbridge allows you to cross. Keep ahead along the right-hand edge of a field, the village of Nash to your right. Just past the Waterloo Inn, ignore a stile on the right (unless using the pub) and instead bear left across the field to a gate leading on to Nash Road.

26. Cross the road to a track opposite, then immediately bear right across a footbridge into a field. Follow a well-marked path through several fields, eventually emerging on a track. Keep straight across this and shortly reach a gravel cycle path. Turn left along the path, which winds its way between fences through the industrial outskirts of Newport. Keep ahead at a road to pass below a railway bridge and into an industrial estate. Follow the road round a right-hand bend. With the entrance to Marshall’s ahead, follow a path to the left, which climbs on to an embankment alongside the River Usk. Continue up the river on a gravel path along the top of the embankment. This is an extremely industrial section, with a number of works to the right and dock buildings across the river on the left. At one point, an industrial conveyor belt, along which ships are loaded, is crossed via steps. The Newport Ultra terminates at the eastern side of the iconic transporter bridge, which if open can be used to return to your starting point on the west bank of the Usk.

If the transporter bridge is not running (timetable here), you will need to continue along the waymarked Wales Coast Path for a further 3.5 km or so. This follows Stephenson Street up to a T-junction before turning left alongside Corporation Road. At a junction with traffic lights, turn left to cross the River Usk alongside the busy Southern Distributor Road (SDR). After City Bridge, the path bears left, away from the road, but shortly rejoins it opposite the junction with Usk Way. Follow the shared pavement and cycle path back down the river to the transporter bridge.