All posts by Peter Fonseca

ITS HAPPENING – Tree Planting Session Saturday 29-04-2023

Following our request for interest in the Tree Planting volunteer session, we are holding it on Saturday 29th April from 10.00am to approximately 12:00pm. Anyone is welcome to come up and help – bring who you can 🙂 !! We have 1000 trees to do, so why not use the woodland as a gym for the day. Maybe bring the family so you can have your own ‘special area’ of the woodland that you planted with your children so they can grow up with the trees and see them develop. The more volunteers we get, the quicker the job will be!

As there is some track work and removal of diseased trees which is a little behind schedule, it will be necessary for anyone volunteering to meet us at the ford (near the Mineslope Cottage) at the entrance to the woodland by 10:00am. The location (using What Three Words) is . We we will escort you from there to the tree planting area using the safest route.

Please ensure you bring some warm/waterproof clothes (in case of a change in the weather), a drink and some snacks with you. Tools will be provided and you will be shown what needs doing and how when you are there.

Hopefully see you there!

BBCW Committee

Membership Database Audit

Blaen Bran Community Woodland are currently performing an annual check on our membership database to check it is up to date.

We have sent an email with subject “BBCW – Membership audit and volunteering question” to all our paid members on the evening of 20th April 2023.

Due to specific email queries, it has recently come to our attention that some members are not receiving emails into their normal Inbox, but they are going into users “Junk” folder.

Can you please check your emails to see if you have had one, and if so, reply to it?

If you have not received an email at all and you are a member, it is likely we don’t have an email address for you, so please email me at from your preferred contact email address with :
– your first name and surname
– your existing website username (only if you have already registered on the website)

I can then confirm we have you on our membership database (we have no contact details for some members!).

If you do not use or monitor your email address, please let us know via Facebook private message instead.

We are in the process of updating our membership process to make things easier for you and our volunteer membership coordinator and communications people to administrate, maximise your privacy in internal processes and allow us to introduce (hopefully exciting!) member only content onto the website over the next few months.

Note that all BBCW staff who maintain the woodland are volunteers. Membership subscriptions currently go towards all costs associated with keeping the woodland insured, safe for users, for subcontractor costs for work that we can’t legally do ourselves, and also materials and machinery for the woodland maintenance our volunteers do. In our spare time, we want to provide member only content on the website, but this involves time and skills many of our volunteers don’t have, so is a bit slow going! If you want to contribute to the website or physical woodland tasks, please contact

Thanks for your continued support.

BBCW Committee

Thanks to Henllys Lodge

BBCW have received a donation of £1000 from Henllys Lodge 8283 of the Monmouthshire Freemasons. The cheque was presented today by Worshipful Master Gareth White, Charity Steward Phillip Davies and Lodge Almoner Stuart Howells.

The money will go towards the purchase of a PTO woodchipper for use within the woodland.

On behalf of BBCW Trust Committee, we would like to thank the Lodge members for their kind donation.


Following our submission to Transport for Wales, we have successfully secured funding for the improvement of three access routes, within the woodlands. The funding comes from The National Lottery Heritage Fund Community Woodlands Scheme in partnership with the Welsh Government.

The improvement work included:
• Repairs to the Arboretum track, stairs, and treads as well as the installation of a drainage network to improve access
• Enhanced drainage and access, along the route from the Spring Gate to the Ancient Beeches as well as the installation of an additional bridge
• Reinstatement of the track from the Fire Circle to the turning known as Crew Corner

Work on the project started in late summer and will continue until early Spring next year – although a lot has already been achieved. We are pleased with the positive responses from users of the woodland and will use the success of the project as the basis for further improvements in the future.

Green Flag Award won for 7th year!

Well done to all the volunteers and the users of the woodland who are helping us keep this status! Thanks also to Keep Wales Tidy and the Eco-Warriors of Bran over the year for their time helping.

Just a gentle reminder that it would make all our groups free/non paid volunteering effort a lot more productive keeping your community maintained a lot easier if all users took their tents/rubbish/cans/bottles/used dog poo bags away themselves rather than leaving us to clean up after you!! Contrary to some beliefs, leaving rubbish around doesn’t give people jobs, but it takes away valuable volunteer time from improvements that we could be doing instead to make our community even better.

Nice to know the efforts of all our community groups are keeping the woodland achieving international quality standards at! Well done all!

Why do volunteers need to manage land?

There’s a common misconception that land that the public can use like Blaen Bran are always funded by the government or local council. That’s just not true! One of our directors recently produced and presented this information the Torfaen Climate Advocates Group about our woodland challenges and aims…..

Check out our member page if you want to contribute to the cause either by volunteering or financially, or both! Click here for some information on how volunteering your time and effort could help. It could be a useful free alternative to contribute to the community rather than wasting your energy on a machine that gets you nowhere in a gym 🙂 !!

My Tree Our Forest Update

Thank you to everyone who has publicised the ‘My Tree, Our Forest’ project to provide a tree for every household in Wales – and thanks to those who have been up to BBCW to collect their tree.

Please note that there will NOT be a tree giveaway on Saturday 19th March, so the last opportunities to collect a tree will be on Thursday 17th March, Tuesday 22nd March – and if there are any trees remaining – on Thursday 24th March.

Do ‘watch this space’ to see if we will have any trees left.

Please note also that the tree types that remain are: wild cherry, downy birch and oak

Willow weaving and craft session

On Sunday 1st December from 10.15am through to around 1pm – along with our usual “Teas in the Trees” session at the Log Circle – we will be having a free willow weaving and craft session, as we have done in previous years, looking to make willow wreaths and other items (probably with a Christmas theme), as well as some Christmas decoration making.

Why not pop up to give it a try or just have a walk, a cup of tea and some biscuits… For more info click here

Sealed Knot – Civil War in BBCW!!

There will be a small marching camp, depicting a small group of English civil war soldiers gathering on their way to join the main army of the King near Bristol !!

This is a chance to see some of the equipment and weapons of the time, and some of the soldier’s pastimes – from repairing kit, to camp cooking and games of chance. The camp will be ‘open’ at the fire circle up in the wood between 12noon and 4pm on the Saturday, with anyone welcome to join us.

Click here to find out more…

2017 Calendar

We have our 2017 calendar now available at £6.50 each.

If you want to buy one, they are available from the Bush Inn (Upper Cwmbran), Davies Timber or order one online here and we’ll arrange how we can get them to you.

All proceeds will go towards projects in our much loved woodland.