Just like a green sapling climbing slowly upwards towards the sky, the National Forest for Wales continues to steadily grow.
27 new woodlands sites have been added to the ambitious, long-term project, which aims to create a network of woodlands that runs the entire length and breadth of Wales. A mighty green woodland worthy of the title of a “national forest”.
15 of these new sites have been proposed by community groups or private organisations for the first time. These range in size and stature from areas of woods in urban centres to forests on private farms, with new additions including the Erlas Victorian Walled Garden in Wrexham, Wentwood Forest near Newport and Porthkerry Country Park on the southern tip of the country. In total, these sites collectively cover an area of nearly 800 hectares.
The other 12 sites have been proposed by Natural Resources Wales and are all from the Welsh Government Woodland Estate, which is forest land that is owned by the Welsh Government. New additions include Crychan Forest near Llandovery and Irfon Forest, which is close to Llanwrtyd Wells. Together, these 12 sites add an additional 24,000 hectares of forest cover to the scheme.
In total, this means there are now 41 distinct woodland sites that are part of the ongoing project, which will ultimately endeavour to help restore and maintain some of Wales’ ancient woodlands, as well as create areas of new forest.
Speaking about the National Forest for Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford said, ‘I’m really pleased to see how so many communities are getting involved with the National Forest. The expansion will contribute towards creating a continuous woodland stretching from north to south, west to east, bringing long-term environmental, health and well-being benefits to all corners of Wales.’
‘The National Forest will create an enduring asset, similar to our Wales Coast Path, which provides many benefits, not just for our population today, but for generations to come,’ he added.
The Wales Coast Path is an epic, 870 mile (1400km) walking trail, which was the first hiking trail in the world to span the entire coastline of a country.
Learn more about the National Forest for Wales project.