All posts by Peter Fonseca

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.

Next volunteer day – Sunday 22nd May

A reminder that we are looking for volunteers (new and old) to join us this Sunday morning. Meeting at the log circle at 10.00am.

Virtually all the roads for Sunday are closed off due to that Velothon thing, so why not try helping a local charity owned community woodland out as a family day out. Come up and see what Blaen Bran has to offer – especially if you’ve not been there before! You are allowed to bring picnics with you and we have the resources to make a woodland coffee or two!

Families are welcome – there are many tasks that can be done by young and old and we love teaching woodland management skills to everyone!! We wont be able to fulfill the 900 year lease with our current committee so we need some young people appreciating the community woodland now and show them the work that goes into maintaining it so they can help when they’re older. When the current volunteers are on mobility scooters in 10 years the woodland might disappear forever and become a housing estate because we haven’t maintained the land to the required standard on our lease…

We love all volunteers, even those who can only help us for 10 minutes whilst walking your dog, as it allows our more committed volunteers who may have been helping for hours to have a break!

Please wear appropriate footwear (boots or wellies), sensible clothing and keep an eye on the weather forecast. Any safety equipment, such as gloves and safety glasses, will be provided depending on the tasks you are doing.

Children will have to be accompanied by an appropriate adult.

Planting Day

We have a lot of trees to plant and would appreciate lots of volunteers to come up and help to do it… All ages, family groups and pets are welcome – we’ll find a job for most people – and if your pet’s a good digger we’ll get them doing some too 🙂 !

These trees and hedges will last for decades, so isn’t it be a nice thought that when you are walking in the woodland years from now, that you and your family could have the satisfaction that you planted an area of it!

The event is being arranged for Sunday 28th February. For more details look at this calendar post.

Thanks in advance!!