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From the family farm to the forests of mid-Wales

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31 OCTOBER 2011NEWS RELEASE No: 15031

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Ifan Jones is another example of the strengthening links between farming and forestry in Wales.

Forestry Commission Wales is targeting farmers with a new tree-planting grant in a bid to achieve the Welsh Government’s target of creating 100,000 hectares of new woodland in the next 20 years.

And now Ifan, whose family have farmed around 800 acres of land just outside the small village of Llanuwchllyn since his great grandfather bought it, is forging a career with Forestry Commission Wales.

Ifan, 25, has just been taken on as a forest craftsperson after completing his apprenticeship with the Commission, which manages the Welsh Government’s 126,000 hectares (311,000 acres) of woodlands.

Based in LLanidloes, Ifan will help to look after the 13,000-hectare Hafren forest – about 130 square kilometres – ensuring the public are able to enjoy the beautiful landscape of mid-Wales.

Along with fellow forest craftsperson Hugh Lewis, Ifan will erect and repair fencing, clear forest paths and rights of ways and carry out a variety of conservation work.

He said, “After working as an apprentice in Dyfi Forest, near Machynlleth, I have gained the skills and qualifications to do more and more forest operations.

“I’m really looking forward to putting these into practice in mid-Wales as part of Forestry Commission Wales’s work to make our woodlands friendly, accessible places where people can relax and enjoy the wonderful scenery.”

Before joining Forestry Commission Wales, Ifan worked briefly as a plant mechanic for Jones Bros civil engineering company, based in Ruthin.

Jim Ralph, the Forestry Commission Wales local area manager in Hafren, said, “Ifan’s recruitment will enable us to continue to develop our forest stewardship activities in mid-Wales.

“It will ensure that the standards of work can be maintained and mean that the work will be done quickly and efficiently as a two-man team.”

Caption: Ifan poses proudly beside a sign for Hafren Forest.

NOTES TO EDITORS

A total of 14.3 per cent of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Government.

Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.

For more information on Hafren Forest, contact Jim Ralph on 01686 411 043, mobile 07815 186 996, email jim.ralph@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on www.forestry.gov.uk/wales

Press office contact: Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922, email clive.davies@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

e-mail: jim.ralph@forestry.gsi.gov.uk