Forest centre on list of world's 'greenest' visitor attractions

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31 MARCH 2010NEWS RELEASE No: 13466

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The Forestry Commission Wales visitor centre in the heart of Coed-y-Brenin has been named among the eight "greenest" visitor attractions in the world.

The iconic round building, which opened three years ago, joined attractions from as far apart as Scotland to Ibiza and New Zealand in the Green Travel List, which is the definitive guide to the most outstanding green travel companies.

The prestigious list is organised by and also includes GreenWood Forest Park, also in north Wales.

The editor of the list, Richard Hammond, said, "The aim of the Green Travel List is to help travellers find a greener holiday.

"It does not single out individual winners; instead the idea is to provide a comprehensive list of a wide range of travel and tourism companies who have convinced us that sustainability is at the heart of their business."

Greentraveller's entire Green Travel List of the 70 most sustainable tourism businesses was published in The Guardian newspaper and also includes the world's most green small hotels, summer activities, transport companies, wildlife watching experiences and community projects.

Of the Coed-y-Brenin visitor centre, the guide says, "The Forestry Commission’s flagship adventure centre just north of Dolgellau is home to some of the best mountain biking in the UK. Waymarked technical trails and a newly opened family route radiate from the visitor centre roundhouse whose electricity is supplied by renewable sources and a woodchip boiler supplies the heating and hot water."

The centre was designed to blend into the environment, have low visual impact and be based on a footprint that would be as small as possible, allowing the forest floor to come right up to the building.

Predominantly, the centre has been built using wood - by far the most environmentally friendly construction material - leading to long-term energy savings and a reduced footprint on the environment.

Some of the timber felled to clear the site was used for the external cladding, with the rest being locally sourced.

A biomass wood fuel heating system meets all the centre's heat and power needs and a private borehole was created to provide water, while waste is dealt with by a peat bio-filter system.

In addition to the building's green credentials, much of the food consumed in the popular cafe is sourced locally - including venison sausages and burgers from the surrounding forest itself - and a bus service calls at the centre five times a day between 10am and 6pm.

FC Wales Recreation Manager John Taylor, who looks after the centre, said, "The sustainability of the centre and its low carbon footprint was uppermost in our minds when we designed the building.

"Creating such a masterpiece in the middle of a forest was no mean achievement and we are absolutely thrilled that our efforts have been recognised by inclusion in the Green Travel List."

The Coed-y-Brenin visitor centre is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm and from 9am to 5pm or dusk on Saturday and Sunday. For more information on the centre, contact John Taylor on 01341 592013 or visit the Forestry Commission Wales website on

For more information on the Green Travel List, visit

Media enquiries to Clive Davies, Forestry Commission Wales Information Officer, on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922.