My walk this week is through the edgelands of Newport, South East Wales (UK). It took me towards what promised to be Newport Wetlands, according to the footpath sign post. I hadn’t gone there for this purpose but found myself frustrated in another errand and in need of an escape from the pressures of the day.
I’d looked to see if there were any nearby walks in a natural environment. What I found was a wild space between industries that promised at least the potential to check out the reens I knew about from working in the area 20 years ago. Put simply, reens are man made drainage ditches which go back to Roman times – the ones that I came across were clearly abandoned and very overgrown.
Mostly I was able to ignore the industry and as I walked further along the local levels the birdsong from the tangled woodland to either side did their soothing therapy. I explored a little off track and soon discovered a red landscape, or perhaps I should say wetland. As wetlands go, this one was definitely unofficial and lacked the expected birdlife, but the red beds of the large ponds were interesting enough. I wondered if the red phenomenon was natural or the influence of the local steel industry.