A Place of Peace in Pembrokeshire

Environment Wales has been funding the post at the Allt Llwyn Dyfrion woodland project for 2½ years now having worked with the project for a few years before that so this mornings trip to see Dave was one I am accustomed to making. The woodland is unusual in my experience as, although it is mostly spruce, it does not have the often gloomy feel of coniferous woods. The wood is 26 acres on the map but is a deep bowl with a lip at one end and almost no flat bits at the bottom which has a small babbling stream winding its way along and making the few flat bits rather wet. We decided if you ironed it flat it would be nearer 40 acres. Dave aims to try and help young people make something of their lives by giving them the opportunity to gain self respect from undertaking hands on tasks in the woods. He is quiet and patient with an understated authority and able to work with all ages and abilities. They have good partnerships with the Princes Trust and Greenlinks, who bring them young people and this year have had a very fruitful partnership with Walking with Friends, an organisation that supports people with mental health problems by getting them out into the countryside to walk, talk, learn about the environment, do art and poetry projects about and in the woods. Several of the participants have liked the woods so much they have started to come and undertake some practical hands on woodland management. The project is always struggling to find some money for infrastructure and really need to find the cash so they can replace their current compost loo, perched high up a band, with some more sophisticated compost loos in a more accessibleposition so that those with access restrictions are able to be better catered for on the site. They are having some issues with people using quad bikes on the site, which they must find a way to fix without excluding the horse riders who use the bridal path that they have created. I think that can be resolved fairly easily. All in all I find this differs from my other woodland projects, it is quieter, a very tranquil space which always has a real feeling of gentle peace about it. I hope we can find ways to bring in the additional money needed to take the project further.

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