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Garw Wood in Cwmbran remains closed

Metal fencing placed at an entrance to Garw Wood, Croesyceiliog by Bron Afon housing association (Pic: Supplied)

A WOODLAND fenced off after children used it as a bike track will remain out of bounds for for the foreseeable future. 

Housing bosses said trees in the ancient woodland had been damaged and that the ecology had been disturbed – and also claimed litter had to be removed from the area. 

It has also been confirmed the area that runs between homes in a residential area of Cwmbran, along with others owned by the Bron Afon housing association, have been put forward for potential inclusion as part of a national forest for Wales.

Bron Afon placed metal fencing at the entrance to Garw Wood in Croesyceiliog, Cwmbran in June after children had cleared parts of the wood and used it as a bike park. 

The housing association has now confirmed it has no immediate plans to remove the fencing and that it needs to allow the wood to recover and consider its future use before access is restored. 

It said: “Garw Wood is fenced off until further notice, while we look at ways to make it safe and accessible and assess what suitable measures we can take to allow the wood to recover.” 

It also said it wants the site to help form part of the National Forest Wales, a Welsh Government initiative intended to protect and promote new areas of tree cover. 

Bron Afon said: “We are working with Torfaen Council to replant trees in the wood this autumn and winter as part of their Branching Out project, and are liaising with their ecologists to consider installing staggered wooden fencing in the area.   

“The site is also planned to be a candidate site for inclusion in the National Forest Wales in addition to other Bron Afon sites, with a draft application submitted last month. 

“Since 2019, we have been working closely with local residents, who in turn have been involved in woodland management for over a decade, to improve the long-term ecology of the wood.  We are also looking at the possibility of setting up educational woodland activity for residents.” 

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Local resident Robin Willis, who lives at Garw Wood Drive adjacent to the wood, and whose children were among those to use the area as a bike park said he hadn’t been persuaded by the housing association the use as a bike park was unsuitable. 

He said: “It was just derelict land with all ferns and brambles over six foot high and a dumping ground. When I moved in five years ago I took out god knows how many black bags of rubbish, it needed a skip.” 

Mr Willis said he was also concerned about the stability of some of the trees and said the woodland was “an absolute nightmare” as he had to regularly clear drains and guttering due to leaves. 

He added there is a lack of space for children to ride bikes if the woods are closed to them: “They haven’t got anywhere else to go. There is a skate park about two miles down the road and if they ride on the rugby, football pitch they get shouted at.”

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