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The sound of bells jingling has been heard all over Welsh woodlands as children from two to seven years old have been following Christmas clues to try to find Santa as he sets up woodland grottos in the run up to Christmas Day.
The Forestry Commission Wales Woodlands for Learning team has hosted a range of festive themed events throughout Wales, turning Welsh Government woodlands into magical winter wonderlands.
Sites such as Afan Forest park, Goytre Wharf, Glasfryn Saw Mill, Chirk Castle and Loggerheads were spruced up Christmas style as hundreds of children came out to enjoy a crisp, winter walk.
Trees resounded with Christmas songs and the sound of laughter as the children, wrapped up warm against the cold, enjoyed a host of activities from searching for reindeer hoof prints, making decorations out of timber and learning about how woodland creatures survive the winter.
Clues were found along the Christmas trails, encouraging the children to find out about how woodland products are sustainably grown and harvested so they can be used for decorations, such as Christmas trees and holly.
After fun and frolics in the woods, children were treated to the sight of Santa appearing through the trees, carrying a sackful of presents to see each child through to the special day.
Children asked Santa questions about what he would like them to leave out for him and Rudolf on Christmas Eve and told him about what they are hoping he will bring them.
At the end of the session, teachers encouraged the tired but excited children to head back to school where they were able to tell mums and dads all about their Christmas trip to the woods.
The visits are offered to schools and educational groups every year and have proved to be very popular with all sites booking up, within the day in some cases. Sessions ran for the first two weeks of December.
Sue Williams, Woodlands for Learning team leader, said, “Our Christmas visits are a great way to get children and education staff to engage in woodland learning during the colder, winter months, when it’s traditionally more difficult to get groups to visit woodlands.”
Media enquiries to Clive Davies, Forestry Commission Wales press officer, on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922, email firstname.lastname@example.org