This news story is now over a year old and information may no longer be accurate or up-to-date. It might also contain obsolete links.
Please use our search link on the left to look for more recent information.
The woodlands of Wales may be great places for adrenaline-pumping activities such as mountain biking and orienteering, but now Forestry Commission Wales is inviting people to lie back and savour the wonderful scenery around them.
The Commission has unveiled its first tree tops viewer, a simple wooden “bed” designed for people who want to take their enjoyment of our woods at a more leisurely pace.
The tree tops viewer has been installed in Welsh Assembly Government woodlands at Ty'n-y-Groes, in Coed-y-Brenin Forest Park near Dolgellau.
The viewer enables people to take a “time out” along the Kings Guards Trail and gaze up at the tallest trees in the Forest Park – some of which reach heights of 50 metres (165 feet).
Most people don’t look up at the tree tops as they enjoy a wide range of recreation opportunities in the woodlands, but the viewer could be the ultimate stress-buster for those leading busy lives.
The innovative device which gives people a different perspective on Wales’s woodlands was the brainchild of FC Wales Visitor Experience, Design and Interpretation Manager Steven Richards Price.
“I love looking at the tops of trees – there's something quite exhilarating about looking up at a blue sky framed by tall trees with clouds skimming past, but thought there must be a more comfortable way of doing this than standing and straining your neck. That inspired me to come up with the idea of the tree tops viewer,” said Steven.
“You simply lie back and enjoy the canopy views in comfort. We haven't made it too comfortable, as we want as many visitors as possible to enjoy the view for a few minutes at a time.”
Coed-y-Brenin has a world-wide reputation for its mountain bike and walking trails which take visitors into the heart of the Snowdonia National Park – but the tree tops viewer is set to stop them in their tracks.
Graeme Stringer, FC Wales Recreation Ranger at Coed-y-Brenin, said, “We’re always trying to think of new ways of connecting visitors with the forest, and Steven's idea is a great and innovative way to enjoy the tallest trees in the forest park. I'm hooked – and our visitors seem to be as well.”
The viewer was made out of Douglas fir from Assembly Government woodlands by Signs Workshop, a company based in Coed-y-Brenin.
And things could be looking up for visitors to other Assembly Government woodlands who want to get away from it all for a few moments, at least.
Steven added, “We’re looking at putting the viewers into other popular forests and woodlands we manage.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
About 14% of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Assembly Government. Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Assembly Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.
For more information on recreation opportunities in the woodlands of Wales, go to www.forestry.gov.uk/wales
Media enquiries to Forestry Commission Wales Information Officer Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922.