New forest centre opens conference facilities

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17 MAY 2010NEWS RELEASE No: 13579

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The rebirth of the Forestry Commission Wales visitor centre at Garwnant took another step forward when the first training course took place in the building's new state-of-the-art conference room.

The centre, which has undergone extensive refurbishment costing over £1.7m over the past three years, hosted a course on teaching people how to deal with first aid emergencies in remote areas.

With its network of mountain bike trails and walking paths into the surrounding woods, the new centre was an apt choice for the Rescue Emergency Care (REC) course which was founded by specialist doctors working in remote health care.

Ten delegates including Mountain Leaders, who take groups on mountain treks, and those who enjoy a variety of outdoor activities such as mountain biking and canoeing, attended the course delivered by Alan Ward of specialist training company Bigfoot Services.

The two-day course provides innovative first aid training and encourages the development of emergency care in remote places.

The new conference facilities at Garwnant include state-of-the-art audio visual equipment, seating for 80 people and full on-site provision from the newly-appointed caterers, Just Perfect Catering.

Sam Detheridge, Visitor Centre Manager, said, "We’re so pleased to have the facilities up and running at Garwnant. The fabulous new building and the spectacular backdrop of the forest make it an ideal place to have any meeting or event."

Similar courses will be run throughout the year at the Visitor Centre, located five miles from Merthyr Tydfil and 14 miles from Brecon.

With the official opening planned for July, Forestry Commission Wales hopes the new centre will offer great opportunities for community involvement and attract more people to enjoy the surrounding woods.

Alan Ward, Bigfoot Services Director of Training, said, "Having delivered training courses at the old Garwnant centre, I’m particularly pleased to have delivered the first course in the new conference facilities.

"The centre is very well equipped and the staff there are a pleasure to work with."


Forestry Commission Wales is the government department responsible for forestry policy and looks after the 126,000 hectares (309,000 acres) of public forests owned by the Welsh Assembly Government.

For more information on Garwnant Visitor Centre, contact Sam Detheridge on 07789 747127, email go to

More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on

Future courses to be run by Bigfoot Services include First Aid, National Navigation Award Scheme (NNAS), Walking Group Leader Award, Mountain Leader training and assessment courses.

For more information on Bigfoot Services, contact Alan Ward on 01874 625077, email

Details of first aid and mountain training courses at Garwnant can be seen on

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