Hafren Forest hosts start of the Severn in 7 Challenge

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17 AUGUST 2010NEWS RELEASE No: 13933

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Hafren Forest on the slopes of Plynlimon was the start of an epic journey on Saturday (14 August) for five members of Highley Rugby Football Club, Bridgnorth who set off on a 210 mile run to raise money for the charity, Help for Heroes.

The five team players, Leon Aspin, Tim Aspin, Dave Steadman, Dan Matthews and Graham Greaves, are running the entire length of the River Severn from its source in Hafren Forest to the sea near Bristol in seven days.

They will follow the River Severn Way, the longest footpath in England and Wales, and aim to run 30 miles each day so that they complete the 210 mile long route by 20 August.

The idea for the Severn in 7 Challenge came from one of the team’s back row forwards, Leon Aspin, who walked to the river’s source a couple of years ago.

Leon thought it would be good fun to run the whole distance and, as most of the men taking part are ex-services personnel, they devised the Severn in 7 Challenge to raise money for the Help for Heroes charity.

Hafren Forest is managed by Forestry Commission Wales on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government.  Local area manager Jim Ralph said, "When Dan got in touch to ask for a little bit of help with planning the route, we were really keen to assist the club with their fundraising effort.

"We quickly sorted out the permission they needed and Hugh Lewis, one of our forestry workers, guided the players through the maze of forest roads at the start of the run so that they could get a quick start on the first leg of their epic journey."

Speaking before he set off on the run, Highley Rugby Football Club's vice captain Dan Matthews said, "We are grateful for the help we received from Forestry Commission Wales to make the start of this event a success.

"We are looking forward to putting in place the planning we have done over the last six weeks and we hope to raise £1,000 for the Help for Heroes charity."

The runners have set up pages on Facebook and Twitter where people can follow their progress and leave messages of support.  Sponsorship can be given via the JustGiving website at

Picture caption: (left to right) Tim Aspin, Dave Steadman and Graham Greaves from Highley Rugby Football Club in Hafren Forest at the start of the Severn in 7 Challenge


Forestry Commission Wales

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.

Forestry Commission Wales provides advice on forestry policy to the Minister responsible for forestry. It provides grant aid to the private sector and regulates forestry by issuing felling licences.

Forestry Commission Wales is also part of Forestry Commission GB and contributes to the international forestry agenda.

More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on

Press office contact: Mary Galliers, or 0300 068 0057.