Today (21 March 2013) marks the first ever United Nations International Day of Forests, a day commemorating the contribution and value of forests and forestry to the community.
Forests cover one third of the planet’s land mass, sustaining a variety of animal and plant life, but deforestation and disease pose an ever-greater threat both at home and abroad. According to The Woodland Trust, a total of 1043 UK woods have been under threat from development over the last ten years. Penllergare was one of these.
For over half a century, it struggled to cope with the damage, neglect and encroaching development brought about by increased urbanisation and commercialisation and there was a great fear that we as a community would lose the woods forever if action was not taken. Thankfully, after a decade of hard work and persistence with the aim of protecting, restoring and reviving Penllergare Valley Woods, the efforts of the Penllergare Trust have paid off. The leases of Valley Woods were finally assigned to the Trust on 26th April 2012, effectively securing them for public benefit until 2116 – that’s 103 years! This in turn initiated the award of £2.4m by the Heritage Lottery Fund through it’s Parks for People programme to support the first phase of an ambitious £2.9m restoration scheme focussed on the upper end of the woodland valley.
Penllergare Valley Woods is a “green lung” in an increasingly urban area, a nationally important historical landscape, a haven for wildlife and our natural health service. Sandwiched between Penllergaer and Cadle on the northern fringe of Swansea, it is a place used by all sections of the community. It’s a place for children and families to learn, have fun and play in, for joggers to keep fit, and for everyone to find solitude and to reflect.
The Trust is laying strong foundations for the future sustainable upkeep of Penllergare Valley Woods as a place for people, history, wildlife, recreation and education. As one volunteer once said: “If we all love and enjoy Valley Woods and want to keep them open, safe and welcoming for our children and our children’s children, we must all help to look after them.”
References and Further information:
Size of Wales Campaign
Forestry Statistics: http://www.fao.org/forestry/international-day-of-forests/en/
International Day of Forests aims to save depleting forests: http://positivenews.org.uk/2013/environment/11590/international-day-forests-aims-save-depleting-woodland/