The Welsh Government have announced 14 new sites that will be the starting point for a new ‘National Forest’ across Wales.
The locations across Wales have been earmarked as “exemplar sites” for what will be a connected network of forests which will span the length of Wales.
The Welsh Government said that the National Forest would be a long-term project matching the scale and ambition of the Wales Coast Path.
Welsh nature and wildlife broadcaster Iolo Williams has also recorded a short video to mark the announcement for the Natural Forest, showing his support.
Iolo said: “I’m very pleased to support the Welsh Government’s plans for a National Forest, which will connect our ancient and new woodlands and celebrate Wales as a land enriched by our woodlands and natural heritage.
“Through the National Forest we can restore, enhance and create woodlands and habitats in a connected way across the length and breadth of Wales, with the right species of tree planted in the right place. It will also inspire well-being through creating a love for the outdoors in future generations, and establish strong, sustainable landscapes and habitats, firmly rooted to protect our country in a number of ways from the impact of the climate emergency.
“And this will be our National Forest – I would encourage all those with an interest to get involved and be a part of its creation as the project progresses.”
Along with providing spaces for leisure and nature, new managed woodlands created for the National Forest will also help to capture and store carbon and provide a sustainable resource of timber for construction, they said.
The 14 new sites announced today are:
- Gwydir Forest Park
- Clocaenog Forest
- Coed y Brenin Forest Park
- Dyfnant Forest
- Dyfi Forest
- Bwlch Nant yr Arian Forest
- Hafren Forest
- Coed y Bont/Coed Dolgoed
- Presteigne forests
- Brechfa Forest
- Afan Forest Park
- Spirit of Llynfi Woodland
- Wye Valley Woodland
The scheme received more than 350 expressions of interest from people wanting to plant new woodlands in Wales and contracts have now been offered to successful applicants.
Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said: “I am delighted to announce the very first sites which will form part of our National Forest.
“They are among the very best woodland in Wales, and will serve as exemplars for the benefits we would expect from other sites and new woodlands before they could become part of the National Forest.
“I am pleased that we will also be unveiling the brand for the National Forest – it represents the enthusiasm shown for this project, and the logo chosen reflects the views of people from across Wales.
“We are keen to build on that enthusiasm, collaboration and sense of collective ownership as we look to incorporate not just existing forests into the National Forest, but also push forward to create new expanses of woodland.”