Mar 24 2020

Celebrating Brynau Woods


Albeit the rain, spirits were sky high last week thanks to a wonderful week of celebrating all things Brynau!


When I first arrived on site I noticed the path was covered in tiny footprints… except they weren’t the foot prints of a rabbits, dogs nor deer… but the sign of the many school children who had undoubtedly rushed up the path at the start of the week – wide eyed and excited for a day of wildlife demonstrations and tree planting.



On Thursday, alongside many of our supporters we welcomed the Environment Minister Lesley Griffiths to the site. The Minister kindly voiced the importance of acquiring the site, what it means for local residents and how the land features in the National Forest for Wales.



Our Wales Director Natalie Buttriss also gave thanks to all our supporters and members for their contributions to the site and informed us of the next steps for consultation and key highlights to look out for across the site.



It was fantastic to see so much support for this acquisition however my personal highlight was watching Gerry, Phil and Terry (our Dyffryn Volunteers) assist the Minister in planting her very own tree at the site.



Over the weekend, we greeted over a hundred local residents and budding horticulturalists to the site – shovels at the ready to plant the seeds ready for future generations to enjoy.



And finally to commence a wonderful week, on Sunday we invited back our new Brynau based volunteers as well as our current local volunteers for their own private tour.



Chris Matts (Site Manager) provided a very informative guided walk. As we journeyed around Brynau Chris explained the tasks the Wardens, Livestock Monitors and Woodland Working Group Members would be getting stuck into towards the end of the year – including monitoring the barn owls that we hope will settle in the farmhouse once it has been renovated.


The views from up on the site are pretty spectacular too!


It was wonderful to meet all our new recruits and learn about their personal connections with the site from climbing trees in Gnoll Park as a child or being pulled through the mud by ‘man’s best friend’ it was heartwarming to see so many individuals wanting to actively give back to a site that had brought so much joy.



I’d also like to say a special thanks to Maggie Elsey Cox (centre) and Chris Matts for all of their efforts and warm welcomes throughout the week.



Brynau won’t be open to the public until 2021 – with further development continuing for a couple of years after that until the site is fully complete. But in the meantime, you can find out more about Brynau Woods via the link –


Please note: In light of Covid-19 we are temporarily ceasing group volunteer activity until the end of May. However, please feel free to contact myself via the details below for updates.


Bethany Picton

Volunteer Development Officer – Wales



Photo Credit: Andrew Jenkins & Maggie Elsey-Cox.

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