PLANS to create a Wrexham Covid-19 memorial woodland in Ruabon have been granted.
Wrexham Council’s planning department has approved an application from National Trust Cymru to build a footpath, active travel route with pedestrian access, cycle stand, and wildlife habitat on nine hectares of land to the north of Hafod House Farm, Hafod Lane, Ruabon.
There are two other commemorative woodlands to be planted in Wales as a gesture of remembrance to those lost to Covid 19.
According to the planning statement submitted by the trust with the planning application, the trust worked in partnership with the Welsh Government, Natural Resources Wales and the local community to “shape the design for this special place to benefit local residents, visitors, and nature”.
The statement adds: “The previous tenancy agreement for livestock grazing at the site ended in February 2022, providing the opportunity for the proposed planting scheme.
“The project aims to create a beautiful space for the local community to come together and experience the natural world. The area is steeped in recent history.
“To the south of the application site is Hafod House, a Grade II Listed Building dating from 1690, and listed as a fine late 17th Century House.
“Nature has been kind. The area bordering the planting site is now a haven for wildlife: a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation, and one of the most important places in Wales for Great Crested Newts.
“Bonc yr Hafod forms the entry point and backcloth to the commemorative woodland and adjoins the planting site at its northern boundary.
“There are two other commemorative woodlands to be planted in Wales as a gesture of remembrance to those lost to Covid-19, these natural places will give people space for hope and reflection as we move forward from the pandemic, creating a chance to celebrate the beauty of spring year after year.”
The project has received significant funding from Welsh Government who have been involved throughout all stages of design and consultation.
Tree planting moved forward during the spring of this year, with further planting and the establishment of a wildflower meadow also on the way.
Around 15,000 trees will have been planted when complete. The project will contribute towards Wrexham Council’s target to increase tree coverage by 20 per cent as part of the Tree and Woodland Strategy.
But there will be no expansion in parking facilities at the Hafod Woodland, or at the neighbouring country park car park. This will help to limit visitor numbers and minimise potential associated impacts such as increased disturbance at Hafod.
The planning statement added: “National Trust is proud to host this Covid 19 memorial site and welcome this opportunity to consider our proposals.
“The landscape adjoins the historic mining site of Hafod y Bwch and are complementary works to those in the nature reserve and public access.
“A safe pedestrian access is proposed with a new active travel link to the site brought forward. The infrastructure of paths, cycle racks and habitat creation measures are considered to meet the requirements of national and local planning policy.
“Our application brings forward detailed biodiversity enhancement measures which will move forward alongside the infrastructure construction works.”
A delegated decision to grant the proposals has been made by Wrexham Council’s planning officers.