IT'S the perfect time to discover the natural side of Newport - and the council has organised a festival to help you enjoy the county borough's scenic delights with community walks across Newport. CARYS THOMAS takes a look at the routes on offer.
BLUEBELLS mark the arrival of spring - and with it a perfect opportunity to get out and about.
So to help you make the most of the nature around you, Newport City Council have organised a series of walking events around the city to showcase the landscape from the Wales Coast Path to the Usk Valley Walk.
The first walk will be from Redwick to Greyhill which is a 12 mile route and takes place on April 20. Redwick is a village located six miles south east of the city on part of the Caldicot and Wentloog levels.
It is considered the best preserved medieval nucleated village on the Levels and dates back to the late 11th/12th century. To access Greyhill, walkers will have to venture through Wentwood Forest which consists of ancient woodland which is more than 400 years old.
The woodland which spans 873 acres was once a hunting preserve of Chepstow Castle but now houses a conifer plantation.
Helen Kenneally, secretary of Chepstow Walkers are Welcome, said: "I would recommend the walk through Wentwood. It's a beautiful walk -the views across the estuary are absolutely stunning.
"If you go to the top of Greyhill you get this beautiful panoramic view which you can see as far as Somerset. It is quite a steep climb but the walk caters for all abilities with different paths to choose from."
The Usk valley Walk from Wentwood to Caerleon is six miles in length and will take place on June 1.
The walk on May 4 will be a nine miles route form Fourteen Locks to Twmbarlwm, Risca. The Twmp or the Pimple as it is sometimes refereed to due to the mound which lies on the summit of the mountain is 419 m (1,375 ft).
Elizabeth Holland, one of the founder members of the Islwyn Ramblers, said: "The walk to Twmbarlwm is a climb, it's a beautiful view and worth the effort. If you take it easy it's no problem.
"Being a member of a walking group you get to see parts of Wales that you've never seen before, Wales is such a beautiful country."
The club has 80 members between 40 and 85-years-old.
Richard Beaugie, 62, secretary of the Islwyn Ramblers, said: "I would recommend the walk up Twmbarlwm, the views are worthwhile.
"A lot of the walks take you to places that you can’t get to any other way. There is some fantastic scenery. It’s a great social occasion, we have a really friendly bunch of people."
The group take two walks a week, one midweek around four miles and a longer one at the weekend which varies between 10 to 15 miles.
Mr Beaugie said: “The midweek walks tend to be shorter and more leisurely walks. We usually stick locally. We walk along the canal at Fourteen Locks.
"I personally became part of the ramblers because my wife was a rambler before I started, I wanted to get fit. I was a smoker and didn’t realise until I went walking how unfit I was.
"Six months later I gave up smoking. Walking is fantastic, it really has opened my eyes."
The Wales Coast Path stretches 780 miles across the country with a section in Gwent, the walk from Redwick to Nash is 10 miles long which will take place on May 18. The second walk along the coast path will be on July 13 from Peterstone to the Transporter Bridge.
Peterstone is a hamlet in Wentloog which lies six miles to the west of the city centre, the coast path is a relatively easier path as the majority of the route is flat.
The South Gwent Ramblers took part in the opening of the path across from the famous landmark in Newport.
Fred Fee, 64, member of South Gwent Ramblers, said: “We took part in the walk along the coast path. It was a nice day and a number of people turned out.
“Gwent is a forgotten area for walkers. Walking is a great way of keeping fit, you learn all sorts walking. It’s a smashing feeling, with endorphins which make you feel great afterwards."
The group have around 130 members ranging between 55 and 75-years-old and meet at the civic centre in Newport. They take part in walks across the area including the Black Mountains.
Richard Beaugie, of Islwyn Ramblers, said: "The coast path is a much easier walk. Some of the Newport walks we’ve found can sometimes be difficult to get through, especially around the Gwent levels.
"It can be quite muddy. I would recommend wellies."
The Usk Valley walk from Caerleon to East Usk Lighthouse is 11 miles and will take place on June 22. The lighthouse was constructed in 1893 and is currently still in operation.
It is one of two lighthouses along the River Usk which sends out two flashes every ten seconds into the Severn Estuary.
The lighthouse is situated within the Newport Wetlands, which is run in partnership with Natural Resources Wales, RSPB and the council.
The nature reserve includes a RSPB visitor's centre and hosts a number of birds including Cetti's warblers and bearded tits.
The community walks will take place mid-week from June until September and will consist of two hour walks. The linear walks will be led by members of the Street Scene Green Services team.
For more information contact the team on 01633 656656 or email@example.com