Timber jills trail brings forest’s history to life

Bookmark and Share Nod tudalen & Rhannu

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.

An important chapter in the history of the Dyfi forest has been brought to life after Forestry Commission Wales installed an MP3 trail recounting the exploits of the Women’s Land Army during the Second World War.

Based on a collection of anecdotes, the audio trail vividly describes the work of the “timber jills” who laboured for long hours every day in the forest while the men were away fighting.

The audio trail, based on the existing Cwm Cadian trail in Tan-y-Coed woodland, near Corris, sheds light on the Dyfi area’s fascinating unknown history and its contribution to the war effort.

It’s the latest addition to four other MP3 trails set up by the Commission which stimulate learning by focusing on different aspects in the life and times of  the Assembly Government-owned forest.

Visitors can download a set of free pre-recorded guides from the Forestry Commission Wales website onto their MP3 players or Ipods before setting out along any of the trails, which were dreamed up by FC Wales recreation ranger Graeme Stringer.

Walkers simply follow the red waymarkers along the route and switch on their players at the MP3 marker posts to learn facts appropriate to where they are standing before moving on.

The timber jills trail starts from the FC Wales picnic site in Tan-y-Coed just off the A487 between Machynlleth and Dolgellau and meanders for two miles along traditional unsurfaced footpaths through mixed woodland, taking in a steep gorge with a stunning waterfall.

Graeme said, “It’s important to engage younger generations who may never have heard of the Women’s Land Army or the timber jills, and the significance of the role they played as part of the wider picture of the Second World War.

“It’s a part of the history of our country which shouldn’t be forgotten. This use of modern digital technology at Tan-y-Coed is one way for us to help keep this memory alive for future generations to appreciate.”

Along with the other trails in Coed-y-Brenin Forest Park at Ty'n-y-Groes, Tyddyn Gwladys, Glasdir and the Afon Eden, FC Wales has established more than five miles of MP3 audio trails in the forest park.

The soundtracks were funded by Meirionnydd-based charity the Rock Trust. The Cwm Cadian trail is unsuitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs, though most of the trails in Coed-y-Brenin can be accessed by everybody, with some sections following all-ability paths.

Full details can be found on the Forestry Commission Wales website.

Caption: A timber jill hard at work in the Dyfi forest.


Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Assembly Government’s department of forestry and manages the 126,000 hectares/311,000 acres of woodland owned by the Assembly Government.

The Women’s Land Army was established during World War I and the Women’s Timber Corps was set up in 1942. By 1943 there were 80,000 volunteers across the UK working on the land. The timber jills felled trees, made pit props (for the mines), sharpened saws, tended horses for hauling logs, and prepared wood for telegraph poles, road blocks and crosses for soldiers graves.

The timber jills trail tells the story of how these women, often from towns and cities, moved to the countryside and worked long hours, often from dawn till dusk.

To download the audio trails or for more information on the woodlands of Wales, go to

For more information on recreation in Coed-y-Brenin forest park, contact Graeme Stringer on 01341 592026, mobile 07917 001173, email

Media enquiries to Clive Davies, Forestry Commission Wales, on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922, email