Horse access to Garw forest improved

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Forestry Commission Wales has acted to provide safe access for horse riders to a woodland which has been targeted by illegal off-road motorbikers.

Illegal biking has become a worsening issue in the Welsh Government-owned Garw forest, near Bridgend, putting other forest users at risk and causing a nuisance to nearby residents.

Barriers erected to deter the bikers have been vandalised and Forestry Commission Wales has worked with local police on operations to crack down on off-road motor biking in the area.

However, Forestry Commission Wales has shown its determination to preserve access for legitimate users to enjoy the popular woodland by installing a new horse step-over at Pontrhyl and reinforcing the bridleway.

Forestry Commission Wales Woodland Supervisor Rebecca O’Dowd said, “Woodlands offer exciting opportunities for enjoyment for all and maintaining access for legitimate use of the forest is very important to us.

“We will not be deterred from providing safe access to the woodland for horse riders because of the activities of a selfish minority of illegal users.”

The new step-over means horse riders will be able to enjoy 1,000ha of open access riding in the Garw forest.

Caption: Forestry Commission Wales community ranger Jonathan Price checks out the new horse step-over.


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 Garw Forest, contact Rebecca O’Dowd on 0300 068 0245, mobile 07899 067183, email rebecca.o’

More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on

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

e-mail: rebecca.o'