New hotel offers free accommodation – to woodland minibeasts!

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A new hotel offering free accommodation has just opened in Bridgend!

But the guests staying at the Mini Beast Hotel at the Rockwool Woodlands for Learning Centre in Pencoed will be more used to living in the surrounding forest than in a comfortable semi.

Local school children helped Forestry Commission Wales Education Officers Geminie Drinkwater and Carol Travers to build the hotel out of recycled pallets, straw and a variety of natural tubes.

It may not seem like much but, for the variety of minibeasts living in the woodland, the hotel is the height of luxury.

The hotel, which was formally opened by Forestry Commission Wales Director Trefor Owen, will be added to by school groups who visit the woodland as part of the FC Wales Woodlands for Learning (WfL) team’s ongoing education programme.

Geminie said, “The minibeasts of Rockwool will soon be living the high life! The aim is to involve as many children as possible in creating small habitat ‘pockets’ within the bug hotel for minibeasts from the surrounding woodlands. 

“The hotel will help the children to learn about the importance of minibeasts and of their own responsibility in the conservation of the different species.”

The WfL team leases the centre and woodland to deliver woodland-based education to children and teachers. Forest School training courses have also taken place there.

Minibeast hunts are a popular activity and link well into the school curriculum. Of the 400-plus visits run by the team so far this year, Foundation Phase and primary school children have enjoyed 45 minibeast-related visits around Wales, plus a further 14 pond dipping days and 32 other biodiversity and conservation related visits.

Children who visit the Mini Beast Hotel will be able to learn about what minibeasts need to live in a woodland environment, as well as finding out about other woodland creatures who form the wider food chain.

As part of the ongoing woodland management at Rockwool Woodlands for Learning Centre, a new pond has been created by Bridgend Council Day Services department.

This complements the minibeast hotel by providing a more diverse habitat which will encourage invertebrates, birds and mammals.

In the short time that the pond has been created, Green and Greater Spotted woodpeckers have already been sighted in the woodland.

Notes for Editors

About 14 per cent 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.

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

More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on

For more information onn the Mini Beast Hotel, contact Geminie Drinkwater on 07748 336629 or Carol Travers on 01873 790005.

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