Without the sea wall the Gwent Levels simply could not exist.
The average height of the Levels is about 7m above mean sea level, slightly higher at the coast but lower towards the inland edge (5m). The Severn Estuary has the second highest tidal range in the world, at 15m. This means that, at high tide, most of the Levels would be submerged under several metres of water twice a day.
The first sea wall was probably constructed by Roman soldiers some time around 100 AD. Over the succeeding centuries it has been abandoned, rebuilt, modified and moved many times. The line of the present wall dates from the late medieval period. It was rebuilt from 1954 to 1974 and runs for 35km. Following a heavy storm in 1990, a programme of raising and strengthening the wall was undertaken.
The original wall at Goldcliff was probably constructed by the monks at Goldcliff Priory.
Walk up on to the wall at Goldcliff and follow the Wales Coast Path north, towards Redwick, for spectacular views across the Severn Estuary.