Forest centres get mums’ votes in nationwide poll

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Two Forestry Commission Wales centres have been voted the best free places to visit with the family in mid-Wales in a UK-wide poll of mothers.

The centres – at Bwlch Nant-yr-Arian near Aberystwyth, and Coed-y-Brenin Forest Park near Dolgellau – together polled half the vote in a survey by Netmums, the UK's fastest-growing online parenting organisation.’s one million-plus members were invited to vote on the best places to visit in every region across the UK put forward by parents.

Bwlch Nant-yr-Arian and Coed-y-Brenin Forest Park each polled 25% of the vote in mid-Wales, with the National Library of Wales coming third with 20%.

Bwlch Nant-yr-Arian Visitor Centre assistant Sarah Cookson said, “We’re thrilled that so many mothers voted for us – but it’s hardly surprising as both centres offer fantastic facilities for families.

“There are play areas for children of all ages and indoor facilities such as toilets/baby changing and café.

“There are also great walking and mountain bike trails, and all these facilities are free with just a car parking fee to pay.”

In addition to the trails, Coed-y-Brenin offers a cycle hire facility and the Go Ape treetop adventure course, while visitors to Bwlch Nant-yr-Arian can enjoy the daily red kite feeding spectacle.

Both centres also provide Junior Rangers days for children throughout the main school holidays, which include activities such as den building and teddy bears’ picnics.

Founded in 2000, Netmums is the UK's fastest-growing online parenting organisation, offering help, support and advice for parents.

Caption: A family has fun on the swing at Bwlch Nant-yr-Arian.


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.

More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on

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Press office contact: Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922, email