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Torfaen County Borough

Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus ©Chris Thomas

Birding Torfaen

Torfaen is a county borough in Wales within the historic boundaries of Monmouthshire. It was originally formed in 1974 as a district of the county of Gwent and in 1996 it was reconstituted as a principal area. Torfaen (meaning 'break-stone') is an old name for the river – today called Afon Lwyd, which flows through the county borough. Torfaen is bordered by the county of Monmouthshire to the east, the city of Newport to the south, and the county boroughs of Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent to, respectively, the south-west and north-west. The area has a population of around 91,000. Much of the southern part of the county borough around the Cwmbran new town conurbation is now urbanised. The north of the county borough is greener and retains extensive areas of countryside, especially on the route to Blaenavon.

There are ten local nature reserves including: Cwmynyscoy Quarry, Churchwood and Springvale Ponds, Garn Lakes, Torfaen Llwyncelyn fields and several run by Gwent Wildlife Trust such as Henllys Bog SSSI. Open areas include Pontypool Park much of which is given to woodland but there is extensive open grassland too.

County Recorder

Tom Chinnick

School House, Llandenny, Usk NP15 1DL

07982 719881


Useful Reading

Birds of Gwent

by WA Venables, AD Baker, RM Clarke, C Jones, JMS Lewis and SJ Tyler | Helm | 2008 | Hardback | 416 pages, line drawings, 32 pages of colour photos, distribution maps

ISBN: 9780713676334

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Gwent Bird Report

Buy Direct


Gwent Ornithological Society


TJ Russell, The Pines, Highfield Road, Monmouth, Gwent NP5 3HP 01600 716266 - Home Page for the Gwent Ornithological Society (GOS) now up and running with news, the latest newsletter, meetings dates, links and more…

Gwent Wildlife Trust


Gwent covers the lower Wye and Usk river valleys and the Severn Estuary in South East Wales. In the last fifty years Gwent has lost two thirds of its ancient woodland and the lowlands surrounding the Severn Estuary are threatened by industrial development…

Torfaen Wildlife Interest Group

Torfaen Wildlife Interest Group (TWIG) is the Torfaen branch of Gwent Wildlife Trust. We are dedicated to promoting the conservation of nature in our local area. Torfaen has a rich diversity of wildlife, despite a long industrial history, but it is under constant threat. The needs of a large urban population and a burgeoning new industrial base create a great deal of pressure for increasing development and the loss of important habitats. Our wildlife needs to be surveyed, recorded, monitored and protected.


Abbreviations Key

GWT LNR Branches Fork Meadows


Satellite View

Branches Fork Meadows lies below the conifer plantation of Tranch Wood and along the Torfaen cycle path. This small reserve supports a variety of habitats including a pond, damp heathy grassland, willow scrub and young oak woodland.

GWT LNR Coed Meyric Moel


Satellite View

This small urban reserve comprises a meadow and a small area of oak woodland. It is a good site for birds, butterflies and other insects.

GWT LNR Henllys Bog


Satellite View

alley mires are areas of water-logged peat in valley bottoms, with characteristic plant communities. Many of these wildlife-rich habitats have been lost through drainage, and they have become very rare nationally. Of the handful of valley mires left in Gwent, Henllys Bog is the best one for wildlife. Henllys Bog is actually fed by springs, and the brook that runs along the edge of the reserve does not supply it with water.

Local Nature Reserves


Torfaen County Borough Council has designated seven sites in the borough as Local Nature Reserves (or LNR's). LNR's are for both people and wildlife and are an important local resource for environmental education.. They are places with wildlife that are of special interest locally, which give people opportunities to study and learn about them or simply enjoy and have contact with nature. They are for conservation, quiet enjoyment and public appreciation of nature.

Trip Reports


Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.


Henllys Local Nature Reserve Group Blog


Steve Williams - Valley Naturalist


BLOG from Pontypool, Torfaen… A natural history journal that follows the activity of a naturalist in the south Wales valleys and beyond. Thrown in for good measure some personal commentary on the issues face by wildlife…