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A group of Girl Guides in Caernarfonshire who created a woodland haven for their local community have been rewarded for their efforts by winning a Tidy Wales Award.
The group has opened up 500 metres of pathways in their local woods in Felin Fach near Caernarfon to make them accessible to wheelchair users by clearing seven acres of invasive laurel and brambles.
With the help of a Better Woodlands for Wales grant from Forestry Commission Wales, they also replanted more than 400 metres of hedges and trees, cleared a stream of debris, installed a boardwalk to open up a large boggy area and provided pond dipping activities.
Their work was voted the best in Wales when they scooped the £250 winner’s prize in the Woodland Improvement category, sponsored by Forestry Commission Wales, of the Tidy Wales Awards, which honour people and groups who have improved their local areas.
In addition to helping the guides to complete challenges to earn merit badges, the project gave local unemployed people and Welsh Baccalaurate students the chance to gain experience and learn new skills, as well as have fun and lead a healthier lifestyle outdoors.
Forestry Commission Wales Woodlands for People Policy and Programme Manager Barbara Anglezarke said the guides were well-deserved winners of this year’s Woodland Improvement Award.
“We were very impressed by the scale of the group's achievements. They have worked with others to make their woodland into a welcoming, accessible and thriving place for everyone to enjoy, with everyone learning and having fun at the same time – quite a feat!
“All category entrants had done such a lot to transform their woodlands for the better and deserve our congratulations,” she said.
The Tidy Wales Awards have a range of categories such as schools, businesses, beaches, rivers, railway stations and so on, with individual winners then competing for the overall Tidy Wales trophy and an additional cheque for £500.
The overall Tidy Wales Award Trophy was won by Friends of the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path, who carry out regular litter picks around the 125 miles of coastal path on Anglesey.
Caption: Girl Guide leaders Jill Stott, Ann Fazakerley and Karen Roberts receive their Tidy Wales Award from Environment and Sustainable Development Minister John Griffiths (second left) and Terry O’Keefe of Forestry Commission Wales.
NOTES TO EDITORS
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.
Keep Wales Tidy is a registered charity supporting community groups and schools across Wales to improve environmental quality by reducing anti-social behaviour and developing a sense of pride in communities. It is an active supporter of community groups, including a large number of woodland groups.
More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on www.forestry.gov.uk/wales
Visit News at FCWales for news, images, press office contact details and links to case studies.
Press office contact: Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922, email firstname.lastname@example.org