Children to design their woodland classroom

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26 AUGUST 2011NEWS RELEASE No: 14864

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Children in Pontrhydfendigaid have been given the go-ahead to design and create a woodland in the grounds of their primary school.

Once completed, the woodland will be used as an outdoor classroom not only by the school, but also local youth groups and the community.

The plan to create the woodland, complete with open green spaces and quiet areas, was given the green light after the Aberystwyth Forest Education Initiative (FEI) cluster group was awarded £4,900 by the GB-wide FEI partnership fund, which is administered by the Forestry Commission.

The children will decide on the key features for their new woodland, which will become a stimulating outdoor learning environment when finished.

FEI operates through a network of local groups which bring a variety of people together to develop and deliver woodland-based learning.

Kim Burnham, Forestry Commission Wales’s education team manager in north and mid Wales, said, “The children have taken the initiative to design an outdoor area which will complement the more confined environment of their classroom, and I’m delighted that this money will enable them to reap the benefits of their vision.”

Through its Woodlands for Learning team, FC Wales contributes £35,000 a year to the FEI partnership fund, which is ring-fenced for projects to increase woodland education in Wales.

Two other cluster groups in Wales who applied for funding were also successful.

The Gwynedd cluster group was awarded £2,500 to design and build a futuristic-looking portable forest shelter which will be used to bring the benefits of outdoor learning to children and young people in Gwynedd.

And the Newport cluster group was awarded £1,787 to develop three tool chests, with bilingual cards describing how the woodland implements can be used, which will be available to all Forest School-trained cluster group members in the area.

Cluster groups can apply for up to 50% funding for projects that meet the FEI’s aims to offer woodland-based learning opportunities which can improve children and young people’s emotional and physical well-being.


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.

The Forest Education Initiative aims to increase the understanding and appreciation, particularly among young people, of the environmental, social, and economic potential of trees, and of the link between the tree and everyday wood products.

The FEI Partnership fund has three rounds each year – in February, June and October – and each cluster group in the UK can put forward one project per round.

The Forestry Commission Wales Woodlands for Learning team delivers woodland-based learning experiences throughout Wales, supports the development and delivery of Forest School and facilitates FEI on behalf of its partners.

For more information on FEI, contact Kim Burnham on 0300 068 0150, email or visit

More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on

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