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People with mental or physical health challenges are capturing the beauty of Whitestone woodlands in the Wye Valley during a series of arts sessions.
Adults and families who have difficulties taking part in creative activities and experiencing the outdoors are visiting the woodlands throughout June and July to reflect their view of the landscape using clay, charcoal and other natural materials.
It’s part of a Forest Arts project being run by Arts Alive Wales in collaboration with Forestry Commission Wales, which manages the beautiful Welsh Government-owned woodlands between Trellech and Llandogo.
Visiting artists such as writer Mike Church also attend some of the sessions to inspire the participants to get in touch with their imaginative side as they explore the natural world around them.
The summer sessions are the second phase of a project which began in autumn 2011 and is jointly funded by Arts Council of Wales and Forestry Commission Wales.
The sessions at Whitestone take place around a forest log circle where a controlled fire is often built as part of Forest School sessions. This provides a welcome respite on cooler days as participants experience the seasonal changes in the woodlands.
Project leader Miranda Thomason said, “Building and lighting the fire and sitting in the circle to talk, share food and drink are hugely popular with participants.
“We focus on providing a relaxed and supportive atmosphere and helping everyone, including carers, feel that they are valued and can contribute.”
The creative activities and the friendly atmosphere are a big hit with participants, carers and parents, but the biggest attraction is the stunning setting of Whitestone.
FC Wales local area manager Richard Gable said, “The Wye valley woodlands are there for everyone and it has been great to enable more vulnerable adults and families to enjoy this wonderful location.”
Caption: Becky, a Forest Arts project member, brushes up on the beauty around her watched by carer Annette.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Arts Alive Wales is an arts charity that enables participation in the arts, particularly for those with least access and whose lives are challenging. To find out more about Arts Alive Wales projects and activities, contact Director Justine Wheatley on 01873 811579, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.artsalivewales.org.uk.
For more information on the woodlands of the Wye Valley, contact Richard Gable on 01291 627412, mobile 07789 653882, email Richard.email@example.com.
For more details about woodlands in the Wye Valley, visit www.forestry.gov.uk/wales
Media enquiries to FC Wales press officer Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922, email firstname.lastname@example.org