Pan Mill Meadows
Pan Mill Meadows is an amazing green pocket of natural beauty right in the middle of Newport and an important breathing space for wildlife as well as for residents. The shared path through the meadow forms a key link in National Cycle Network Route 23 and is enjoyed by cyclists and walkers alike. The site’s main paths are accessible to buggies and wheelchairs.
Much of the site is managed as a fen meadow, with an area of woodland and a long river frontage, but this site has a long industrial history and you might spot the remains of the railway that used to pass through as well as leets and channels associated with flood management and milling.
What to look and listen for …
There are beautiful flowers in spring and early summer such as yellow iris, meadowsweet, bird’s-foot trefoil, burdock and chervil, hence this is a wonderful place for a summer butterfly safari, and along the water courses you will also see dragonflies and damselflies. The railway used to come through here and every so often you will spot some remains, our interpretation boards and pillars will give you clues as to where to look.
The river can be quite noisy, there are several weirs in the Medina here, and also a cascade as Pan Stream comes through the site to join the main river. If you hear a plop in the water it might be a water vole or trout. You will also hear squabbling ducks. A ‘tap tap’ in the morning will be the woodpecker whilst long-tailed tits visit in flocks and you will hear them excitedly chattering. Listen out for the Gift to Nature bees – it’s one of their favourite foraging spots and if our sheep are in residence, you will hear and see them in the south meadow.
… and smell and touch
In spring, smell the three-cornered leek and wild garlic, the former is an invasive plant, the latter is native. The water mint in late spring smells like toothpaste, and the stinking iris isn’t quite so pleasant, although some people say it smells of roast beef. Meadowsweet does what it says on the tin! It grows in our meadow and it smells sweet.
Find our carved seats and the animals on the gate. Go on a leaf hunt; you will find lots of different types – you can do this in summer and winter. Try making pesto with our three-cornered leeks.
Nature at home and activities on site
We have produced a super Colouring Sheet for you to download and complete at home. We have also produced an I Spy Sheet and Map for you to print at home, or download to your phone and take to the site. And become a Bug Bunch Ranger. All these activities and resources can be found here.
Managing the site
When the site came under pressure for development several years ago, Gift to Nature stepped in to buy it At the time of its purchase this riverside wetland close to the centre of Newport had become in parts a litter-filled bramble patch. We worked with local groups to turn the land back to riverside woodland and wildflower meadow. Building on the this vital work undertaken by our partners Gift to Nature continues to manage Pan Mill Meadows for its habitats and species as well as its water quality and its flood defence capacity.
Pan Mill Meadows benefited from a major river restoration project aimed at bringing trout and eel back to this stretch of the Medina, work funded by Suez Trust . There are now 125 fruiting hedge plants including gooseberry, black and redcurrant as well as damson, pear and apple trees along the paths and beside the meadow.
We cut the north meadow on a rotational basis. and sheep occasionally graze the south meadow.
How to get there
By bus – St George’s Park Stop (Routes 2/3) then access the site through the footpath opposite the football ground entrance. Alternatively the site is a 5 min walk from the bus station. (Bus Timetables)
The cycletrack passing through Pan Mill Meadows provides well surfaced level access suitable for wheelchairs and mobility scooters. The main paths within the site are now accessible for them too. Access to other areas of the site is on more uneven paths, some of which can be boggy. There are benches dotted around the north part of the meadows, including a picnic table suitable for use by wheelchair users. The north site is free of gates and stiles. The southern meadow is gated and locked.
The nearest toilets are under 0.4 mile on a flat walk, and are in stores so check opening times. These are at Matalan (what3words ///title.hotspots.union) and ASDA (what3words ///prune.traded.wizards) . Out of shop hours there are toilets in South Street, Newport (what3words ///ethic.fired.imprinted) . These are slightly further away but the walk is still flat.
We have written an Access Statement for this site. This includes mobility and sensory issues and opportunities. We welcome feedback from users.
We have produced an audible description creating a mind’s eye view of the area to allow a visually impaired person to enter with confidence. It will describe the entrance, the size of the area, where to find further information or help and any major obstacles or features. Information has been produced by visually impaired people ensuring it is useful and accurate. Access the description by scanning the QR code to the left of this text on your phone or tablet, or by clicking here.
There are various ways you can help improve and maintain our sites. We rely on volunteers to help with many tasks on our sites and also need people who are happy to regular visit the site be our “eyes and ears”, this means we can respond much quicker to issues. Our shop raises money to support our work and needs a team of volunteers. Or maybe you would like to help us with events. Find out more here.
You can also help by becoming one of our regular supporters. Even giving a few pounds each month can make a real difference, with your donation being invested into site management and improvement work to benefit site visitors and look after our precious wildlife. Sign up here.
In 2016 and 2017 work to improve and maintain Pan Mill Meadows was made possible by the generous support of: