Alwen Forest Resource Plan

Alwen Forest Resource Plan

View and comment on our proposed plans for the Alwen forest.



The Alwen forest is situated to the west of the Llyn Brenig and surrounds Llyn Alwen, on the boundary between Conwy and Denbighshire County Council and covers an area of 1382 hectares. The forest is a leasehold site and borders extensive areas of open moorland as well as private forestry, some of which is owned by Welsh Water.


This is a productive forest for timber, soils and climate are restrictive but suitable for growing a limited variety of high yielding tree species. The forest is predominantly spruce but also pine, fir and larch. To date there has only been a limited impact of Phytophthora ramorum on the larch, but it is accepted that this species will need to be removed in the coming years as part of the larch replacement programme currently being implemented across the Welsh Government Woodland Estate.


Ancient woodland is designated over just 6 hectares of the plan area however to the north west of the forests is Mynydd Hiraethog SSSI a 6400 hectare bog and heathland designated site (which includes Hafod Elwy NNR). Approximately 115 hectares of this is within the boundary of this plan. There are also numerous remnant agricultural features such as farmsteads and other buildings throughout the forest.


There is regular informal recreational use of the forest, particularly for walking, cycling and dog walking, including on the two well used trails, the Alwen Trail and Brenig Trail (which both form part of the Two Lakes Trail) Both trails largely follow the reservoir shorelines but link up through the forest. The catchments around the Alwen and Brenig reservoirs have been designated as Drinking Water Protected Areas. There has been a history of riparian and reservoir boundary improvement over the past 15 to 20 years, removing conifer and improving habitats, though further work is still required.


Summary of objectives


  • Managing for water – continued improvement of riparian habitat, including the gradual reduction of the need for forest harvesting operations in sensitive areas along the lake shore. Establishing a framework of low density native habitat helping to improving water quality and reducing the risk of forest operations impacting on water sedimentation
  • Maintaining timber production - this shall remain a key driver for the Alwen forest, however the opportunities for diversification of tree species, whilst constrained, remain and should be applied where appropriate
  • Management systems on exposed sites which limits opportunities for forest management, systems chosen for management should be appropriate to the site and promote good silvicultural management practices
  • Much of the Alwen Forest is second rotation conifer crops with large areas approaching first thinning interventions that will support the development of LISSs, reduce the need for large scale clearfelling in the future and aid the development of structural diversity of the forest
  • Key habitats for priority species such as red squirrels should be protected and enhanced, this again will benefit from an improved delivery of silvicultural thinnings
  • Forest management should be sensitive to the increasing potential for public access and recreational use of the forest. This will link with other objectives and may include diversification of the forest and native and amenity plantings, where silviculturally appropriate


Location map
Alwen forest map













Long-term primary objectives map


Still under development.


Indicative forest types and habitats map


Still under development.


10 year harvesting activities map


Still under development.


If you have any comments or feedback, you can contact the Forest Resource Planning team at or