The Gwent Levels Revealed

The LLDM-9 Gwent Levels Revealed project will provide some really exciting new exhibits and features at the Newport Wetlands Environmental Education and Visitor Centre to showcase the fascinating ways the Gwent Levels landscape has been created and maintained throughout the ages from early occupation through Roman reclamation to modern times. The key interpretation piece will be based on a relief model of a typical area of Gwent Levels landscape showing the intricacies of the historic drainage system and sea defences and their key role in maintaining the habitats and landscape which survives today.

This will include a steel etched timeline showing various events that have shaped the landscape, ecology and heritage of the area. The team at Newport Wetlands are also developing a small exhibition space to add to this interpretation through a map of the levels, a poem by famous poet W H Davies, and a range of prehistoric bones, tools and artefacts. As there is only a small amount of space, the illustrated map and poem are to have a layer of augmented reality to help tell the story of the Gwent Levels. In addition some digital equipment will be installed to help visitors see the wide range of species which are living on the reserve. Many species are ‘hidden away’ either in the waterways or reedbeds leading people to think there is nothing there! Our cameras will capture some of this hidden life and help show visitors the diversity of wildlife that the Gwent Levels harbours.

The interpretation is still in the design phase, so we have not got any completed interpretation yet. However, even the planning and design stages have resulted in some interesting outcomes:

  • Staff and volunteers have done a lot of research about the themes of the Gwent Levels, particularly in the immediate area of Newport Wetlands. We have therefore built a great foundation of knowledge to share with our visitors.

  • We have consulted with visitors on what they think are important themes to include on the steel etched timeline

  • We have had a BioBlitz which was attended by over 1000 visitors, highlighting the incredible range of plants and animals that inhabit this special area

  • We have a dedicated Living Levels volunteer

  • We have 2 students on a work experience placement from the University of South Wales assisting with the map and poem design

  • We have started to create a library of 10 minute talks that can be used with visitors to the wetlands to give an introduction to some of the key themes of the programme

  • We are all learning about new technology, such as augmented reality, in conjunction with designers that we are working with!

The new interpretation is due to be completed at the end of March, 2019. If you’d like to find out more or get involved Helen would be delighted to hear from you!

Project Lead
RSPB Cymru

Project Timeline
February 2018 – July 2019

Living Levels reference

Helen Gottschalk, Visitor Experience Manager, RSPB Cymru