First Minister Mark Drakeford and Minister for Climate Change Julie James MS visited Bryngarw Country Park last week to announce its status as a National Forest for Wales.

Awen Cultural Trust has been recognised by Welsh Government for its commitment to creating a woodland space at Bryngarw Country Park that is an exemplar for others to follow.

The National Forest, which will eventually stretch the length and breadth of Wales, will involve the creation of new areas of woodland and help restore and maintain some of Wales’s ancient woodlands.

There are now 41 woodland sites which are part of the National Forest for Wales network, including 26 which are part of the Welsh Government estate, which are managed by Natural Resources 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.”

Julie James, the Minister for Climate Change, said:

“As the National Forest for Wales expands, so will its network and community. Granting National Forest status recognises the hard work so many people and organisations, including many volunteers, have invested in creating exemplar woodland spaces.

“I’m pleased to welcome the new woodlands to the National Forest, which will help to support biodiversity and fight climate change, while creating real opportunities for people in Wales to re-engage with trees, woodlands and nature.”

Dominic Driver, Head of Land Stewardship for Natural Resources Wales, said:

“The need to aid nature’s recovery is urgent and creating and enhancing woodlands is one of the best things we can do in Wales to respond to the climate and nature emergencies.

“The National Forest for Wales will play an important part in contributing to that response, in a way that works for both people and nature.”