The Blaen Bran Community Woodland is intended to be adult, child and dog friendly but please be aware it used to be a mining area and although the successors to the National Coal Board have assured us that all the mine shafts have been filled in. The main tracks and trails are safe and regularly checked but if you leave them there are areas of boggy ground and steep sections so we urge you to be cautious if you wander off the main trails.
We do try to maintain the woodland and clear any dog litter and rubbish, but sadly we do sometimes miss some items as in the woodland as rubbish is not always easy to spot – especially in autumn under the leaves – so there may be hidden glass fragments that your dog may not appreciate!
Note that the reservoir area is NOT part of Braen Blan site even though it is not fenced off. We have been told that it is not advisable to let animals in the reservoir – be aware it is not our responsibility.
If anyone notices damage to fences, gates or signs please report it to us via the contact us page. If you find an uncontrolled fire then please dial 999 immediately.
Tracks and Paths
There are designated rights of way through the woodland shown on the entrance map and on ordnance survey maps, but Blaen Bran have created additional paths and tracks such as for the nature trails.
Dogs and responsible owners are welcome and we have many dog walkers who use the woodland. A couple of things though :
1) Dont let your dog off the lead if it’s not used to other dogs or horses
2) Make sure you bring some poop bags with you
3) We can’t guarantee that all rubbish left by irresponsible users will be cleared from the entire woodland – such as smashed bottle fragments – so be cautious about where your dog goes.
Horses are welcome on the woodland. We do have a category of horse rider membership and our rider members do have keys to enter through the entrance gates which are kept locked. Note that horse riders are asked to only use the main tracks and trails, as horses can cause damage to the flora, fauna and trails the volunteers are trying to maintain if taken off route. Be aware the woodland is full of dog walkers, some of which will be off the lead and may playfully run up to horses if their owners don’t spot you early enough, so ensure your horse will cope with other animals around.
Pedal bikes are also welcomed as long as they follow the main tracks. Please be aware there will be walkers, horses and dogs off the lead around the woodland so as to not unnecessarily shock them.
Vehicles with engines
Motorbikes or quadbikes are not permitted on the woodland. Although we understand the fun you can have with them, you can do quite a bit of damage to the flora and fauna that other users enjoy, and the sound of your engines isn’t much appreciated by the users, dogs, horses, birds and mammals we hope to attract. Any reports that this is occurring will be acted upon and we will involve the police as appropriate. Note that cars, vans and tractors may be seen during your walks on the woodland – but these will be involved in transporting resources for maintenance of the woodland, or allowing access to cottages within the gated area. We aim to keep engine noise to a minimum so as not to unnecessarily worry the wildlife.
Firearms / Weapons
The use or carrying of firearms, air weapons, archery items or crossbows on the woodland is not permitted and is therefore classed as ‘armed trespass’ under the law. Note that you do not even need ammunition with you for this offence to get a conviction. Armed trespass is a criminal offence and can have severe penalties (Google it to see if you dont believe us). The intention is to create an environment for the benefit of the community and also to attract wildlife. The use of weapons and guns will frighten animals and, even if not intended, you may accidentally injure other users of the woodland who may be exploring.
Picnics and Barbecues
Picnics are also quite welcome, but please ensure you dispose of any litter in the entrance bins or take it home with you. Make sure you bring enough disposable bags with you to collect any uneaten food or rubbish, rather than leaving it where you picnic.
Fires are not allowed except for events arranged by the committee or as part of woodland management work overseen by the committee or volunteer coordinator. This also includes barbecues, fireworks and the like. Our insurance requires that these events must have a designated safety officer and a risk assessment done. If you ignore this and your fire ‘accidentally’ goes out of control due to a sudden wind gust (has happened before in organised events but precautions were in place), at best you would destroy part of the woodland which will take decades to regrow. At worst, the terms on the community woodland lease would be breached and generations of people may lose access to the whole area as the owner may end up terminating the lease agreement.