Goldcliff Lagoons Guide
Welcome to my Goldcliff Lagoons Reserve Guide
I am passionate about Goldcliff Lagoons and would like other visitors to the reserve to enjoy it as much as I do.
I have created a handy reserve map that shows the locations of the hides and viewing platforms that are located onsite.
Please treat the reserve with respect at all times. Do not wander into the reserves out of bound areas primarily located along the sea wall and Goldcliff Pill areas. Entry to those areas is prohibited to prevent disturbance to the wildlife and the majority of the prohibited areas are dangerous underfoot in any case.
Goldcliff Lagoons Reserve Map
You are welcome to print the maps for reference. On request, I can supply a PDF copy if required.
|Page 1 ( The Map)|
|Page 2 ( Key)|
The Hides and Platforms
This is the first hide that visitors find whilst walking the reserve from its entrance. It is a large well constructed wooden hide. There is enough space inside for approximately four people ( taking into account COVID two-meter distance restrictions).
The hide has benches for seating that can be moved around/
Curlew Hide looks out onto Monks Lagoon.
Handy Tip - Never walk past this hide without checking it as you can guarantee if you don't you will miss something special.
Key Species - Dunlins, Ringed and Little Plover, Curlews, Various duck species, Stonechats and Whinchats on the fence posts
Rarities observed - Little Stints, Semi-Palmated and Pectoral Sandpipers, and Common Crane.
The redshank Platform is my favorite platform on the reserve. I have seen many great birds form this viewpoint.
The platform looks over a large part of Monks Lagoon. Whilst the wooden screen can be a little frustrating to look through the scope or cameras with it is elevated and the view is pretty good.
The platform has fixed benches so that you be seated. There is room for standing.
Handy Tip - Redshank is best used during the morning when the sun is behind you. During the evening sunshine, the birds tend to be silhouetted.
Key Species - Small wader species, Dunlins, Ringed Plovers, Redshank, Curlews, Avocets and ducks
Rarities observed - Red-Necked Phalarope, Grey Phalarope, Merlin, Spoonbill, and Glossy Ibis.
3. Greenshank Hide
The hide is large and most notably has a huge disabled ramp ( if anyone with a wheelchair can get this far I would be impressed). It is built similarly to Hide 1 and can accommodate a number of people safely. The Hide looks out onto the left-hand side of Monks Lagoon and you can also see Priors Lagoon and across to Becs Lagoon.
Handy Tip - It is always worth taking a look over the hedgerows at the rear of the Greenshank Hide. I once was watching a flock of Fieldfare and Redwings feeding on Hawthorn Berries and then saw a Pallid Swift flyby ( A Gwent first).
Key Species - Small Waders, Curlews, Lapwings, and Greenshanks.
Rarities observed - Hobby, Spotted Redshank, Curlew Sandpipers and Pallid Swift
4. Lapwing Viewing Platform
This is my least favorite platform. It was in the early days of the reserve, the last viewing platform, and the only platform to view Priors Lagoon. The wooden slats are not very good and I always feel very claustrophobic in it and miles away from any birds.
Handy Tip - Look in the brambles as the back of the platform and you may see a Common Whitethroat
Key Species - Wader flocks on Priors and Monks. Geese and ducks on the borders. Lapwing and Black-Tailed Godwits.
Rarities observed - Spoonbill and Glossy Ibis
5. Snipe Platform
The snipe Platform was expanded last year and is arguably one of the best places on the reserve to view birds. It offers a fantastic view of Priors Lagoon and the expansion also provides a different view of Monks Lagoon albeit at a distance.
Handy Tip - Always approach the platform quietly especially at dawn. If you don't you will disturb any birds that are roosting close to the platform, especially the ducks as if they sense you the whole lagoon will panic and clear of birds.
Key Species - Often used for roosting. Black-Tailed Godwits, Knot, Redshank, Ruff, Common Sandpipers, Little Egrets, Coot, and Herons
Rarities observed - Glossy Ibis, Great White Egret, Spoonbill, Wood and Green Sandpiper, Black- Necked Grebe, Baird's Sandpiper
6. Marsh Platform
This is the newest viewing platform on the reserve, built by the NRW and Friends of Goldcliff. Its is named after a veteran birder named John Marsh
The platform offers views over Priors Lagoon and you get a nice panoramic view of the reserve.
Handy Tip - The platform is great for viewing roosting waders which often huddle along the central reed bed
Key Species - Roosting waders such as Black-Tailed Godwits, Knot, Greenshank, and duck species.
Rarities observed - Garganey, Marsh Harrier, Glossy Ibis, Wood Sandpiper.
7.Sea Wall Viewing Place
There is no official platform on the sea wall. You will have to walk up the grassy bank to get to the top of the wall. The views from you of the foreshore and beyond are amazing. You can walk further left towards Hill Farm over the styles. Walking beyond the viewing point right towards the pill along the wall is prohibited to prevent disturbance.
Handy Tip - Make sure you hold onto your tripod. It can get windy on the wall and scopes have been known to be blown over the wall.
Key Species - Wader flocks on the foreshore. Curlew, Dunlins, Shelduck, Oystercatchers, and Gulls
Rarities Observed - Seawatching has resulted in Gannets, Porpoises, Manx Shearwaters, and Curlews Sandpipers on the mud.
The final hide on the reserve, Avocet takes a bit of walking to. It is often a nice shelter from the wind that can be very strong around the sea wall at times. The view from the Avocet Hide is expansive. You have a good view of Becs Lagoon and also the other side of Priors Lagoon.
Handy Tip - Don't forget to use the side windows of the hide and look along the grassland that borders Becs as you may see Kestrels hunting. A Stone Curlew was once seen on the grass.
Key Species - Dunlin, Ringed, and Little Ringed Plovers, Avocets, and Oystercatchers. Curlews like to roost on this lagoon.
Rarities observed - Peregrine Falcon, Marsh Harrier, Grey Phalarope, Glossy Ibis, Spoonbills, and Curlews Sandpipers.
9. Boat Lane Seawall.
You cannot get to this location by walking through Goldcliff Lagoons Reserve. In order to reach this location, you need to walk up Goldcliff Road from where birders park their cars on the road. Continue past the farm on the left and walk through where the road narrows near a reen. You will then sea a footpath and NRW information sign. Walk along the path which runs the other side of the pill.
Eventually, you will get to a viewing point on the sea wall. From here you will have the only view that is possible of the mouth of the pill and foreshore.
Handy Tip - Wear some wellies and waterproofs as its a bit of a walk and you can get wet if it rains.
Key species - In winter the waders tend to hang around the pill foreshore at high tide. Avocets, Dunlins, Curlews, Lapwings, and Geese.
Rarities observed - Marsh Harries and Hen Harriers flying down from Uskmouth and Redhouse Barns.
The Friends of Goldcliff Lagoons Webpage
I cannot write about the reserve without making mention of the Friends of Goldcliff. This is an informal group of volunteers who love the reserve who have worked with the NRW to improve the reserve such as building the Snipe and Marsh Platforms.
There is a website maintained by my birding friend Brian Thomas which has lots of details about the bird species that have visited Goldcliff Lagoons.
Please visit the website (CLICK ON THIS)
You may notice one or two photographs on the website of mine ;)