Mark Drakeford announces locations of commemorative woodlands for Wales
Locations of Wales’ first commemorative woodlands, in memory of those who have died during the pandemic, have been announced by First Minister, Mark Drakeford.
The first two woodlands will be created on part of the National Trust Cymru’s Erddig Estate in Wrexham and at a site identified by Natural Resources Wales at Brownhill in the Tywi Valley in Carmarthenshire. A third memorial woodland is planned for Southeast Wales, although a site has yet to be identified.
The Welsh Government hopes that the memorial woodlands, intended as commemorative places where families and friends can remember lost loved ones, will symbolise Wales’ resilience during the pandemic as well as regeneration and renewal as the new woodlands grow.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “It has been almost two years since the coronavirus pandemic hit Wales.
“Too many people have been taken too soon by this awful virus. We will remember all of them and keep them in our hearts and our minds.
“These woodlands will be a permanent and living memorial to all those who have died. They will also be a symbol of the strength the people of Wales have shown over the past two years.”
Planting is expected to begin this year, using an environmentally resilient range of tree species, and the sites are expected to become part of the National Forest for Wales.
Announced in 2020, the National Forest is planned as a long-term project, establishing a connected network of existing and new woodlands across Wales.
Natural Resources Wales and National Trust Cymru will work with local communities and families to plan and design the woodlands, with opportunities to help shape the management of the woodland.
Clare Pillman, Chief Executive of Natural Resources Wales, said: “Our forests and woodlands are powerful, poignant symbols of life, helping to enhance our environment and biodiversity and providing space for recreation and reflection.
“Our ambition for this commemorative woodland is for it to become a living, growing area for all the community to enjoy, as well as a quiet space for contemplation as we continue to navigate this most challenging of times.
“As part of the journey, we want to engage with local communities and our partners to plan and design the woodland, shaping with them safe and accessible spaces, where people of all ages can come to remember and reflect for years to come.”
Justin Albert, Director of National Trust Cymru, which will be helping to create the site at Erddig, said: “For over 125 years, the National Trust has provided places for people to connect with nature, beauty and fresh air.
“This has felt as relevant over the last two years as it has in any time in our history: knowing that nature has been hugely comforting to many during the pandemic, bringing both pleasure and reassurance as all other aspects of our lives changed.
“We look forward to collaborating with communities and partners to create a special place in memory of those lost to coronavirus. The woodland will be for remembrance and reflection, but also to provide a future green space for everyone to continue that much needed, beneficial connection with the natural world for ever.”
More detailed information about the plans for the sites and the related public consultation can be found here.
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