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Apprentices Power Up Forestry Commission Trails

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Weston power group Symonds Yat

A group of 32 apprentices from Western Power Distribution (WPD) got their hands dirty clearing overgrown vegetation and rebuilding footpaths in the Forest of Dean.

The volunteers, who are all undertaking electrical apprenticeships, spent a week learning new skills and carrying out improvements around two popular trails for the benefit of the community.

Working closely with the Forestry Commission, the apprentices carried out work on the Bixslade Trail in the Cannop Valley, to clear vegetation that had become overgrown. They also carefully uncovered original ‘dram’ stones along the Bixslade ‘dramroad’ that was constructed in 1810 to transport stone and coal from local quarries and collieries.

The apprentices also spent time working on the steep footpath leading from the spectacular views high on Symonds Yat down to the beautiful steep-sided river Wye gorge. They repaired old steps and cut in new ones, built up the footpath where it was worn out and constructed a stretch of new handrail to improve safety for visitors along this steep and precarious trail. They also cleared overgrown vegetation and built a new bench as a rest point for walkers climbing the route.

Steve Gibbons from WPD’s Training and Safety Team said:

“Everyone has thoroughly enjoyed this project. The apprentices have gained valuable team building skills while carrying out practical work that will benefit the community.”

Heather Lilley, Community and Communications Manager for Forestry Commission West England District said:

“We are so impressed with what the WPD Apprentices have accomplished in their time with us. They have worked hard and are a real credit to their organisation. To achieve this level of improvement on the ground in one week is fantastic. Thank you for your practical support – we’re looking forward to welcoming you back again soon”.

Notes for editors:

About the Forestry Commission:

• The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment.  Further information can be found at
For Further information about the Forestry Commission, please contact Heather Lilley on 0300 067 4800.

About Western Power Distribution:

• Western Power Distribution (WPD) is the distribution network operator for the Midlands, South West England and South Wales, and is responsible for delivering electricity to approximately 7.8 million customers in the UK.

• WPD is not an electricity supply company and does not bill customers in the UK. Its responsibility is to distribute electricity from the point of generation to homes and businesses.

For further information about Western Power Distribution please contact Stella Hayward on 01332 827461.