Santa heads for the woods as big day approaches

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More than 2,000 children from all over Wales will be wrapping up warm and heading out into their local woods to meet Father Christmas this month.

Woodland grottos are springing up as Forestry Commission Wales education staff crank up the excitement by turning Welsh Government woodlands into magical winter wonderlands.

Members of the Woodlands for Learning team will be hosting a range of festive-themed activities, such as hunting for woodland creatures and learning about how they survive in winter, making woodland crowns from natural materials and hunting for Rudolf’s footprints on the forest floor.

During their visit, the children will learn about tree seeds and fir cones, as well as finding out where Christmas trees come from and how they are grown in a sustainable way.

The children will also have the opportunity to meet Santa and tell him what they really want for Christmas before going home with a goody bag to tide them over until the Big Day.

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.

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.”

The visits will run until December 9 and cost £4 per child. For more information on visits in your area, contact Ffion Hughes (north Wales), Karen Clarke (south Wales), Kate Elias (Bwlch Nant yr Arian).

Caption: Children meet Santa during a woodland visit.


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.

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

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