Welsh woodlands proving popular
IF you went down to the woods today, you probably weren't alone.
Many of us visit them regularly and pretty much all of us reckon they benefit the local area, according to a survey carried out by the Welsh Government.
It found that woodlands' environmental and recreation value topped the list of why people liked them.
Afan Forest Park, near Port Talbot, is a hit with mountain bikers, while Pembrey Country Park is popular with walkers.
But the survey also revealed the public was less aware of woodlands' potential value in terms of renewable energy and the boost they can give to the local economy. The Welsh Government wants to improve this awareness and has set out its case in its Woodlands for Wales plan.
Since the survey began in 2003, the number of people visiting woodlands has remained fairly constant at 64 per cent in 2013 compared with 62 per cent in 2003. Some 94 per cent of us nowadays believe they provide a benefit to the community.
Alun Davies, Minister for Natural Resources and Food, said: "It is good to see that people in Wales are increasingly appreciating the value of their local woodlands.
"Woodlands provide us with a range of goods and services including timber, fuel, water management and climate regulation. We also use them widely for recreation and education purposes and we know they can provide a real boost to our general health and well-being.
"This survey shows that there is strong public support for services provided by our woodlands and that they are viewed as one of our most valuable natural resources."