The forests of Latvia

By | Category: Travel destinations

With the COP meeting in Glasgow just a few days away, the thoughts of many people will turn towards what they individually might be able to do.

The strange stone mounds in Pokaini Forest. Image – Investment and Development Agency of Latvia

In terms of international travel, they are handicapped in that to cross the channel or fly, they can deposit a larger carbon footprint than if they stay at home.

Travelling less will help but international travel will always and should take place to help understanding between nations and to enlighten us all about other peoples and cultures. Banning international travel is impractical, implausible and will never happen on a permanent basis.

Sometimes, being on an island, is an issue.

One thing that people can do is visit and celebrate those things which have been identified as helping the planet. One of these is forestation.

Latvia, for example, has over 50% of the country is forested whereas in the UK 13% of the total land area is forest, 10% in England, 15% in Wales, 19% in Scotland and 9% in Northern Ireland.

So visiting the Latvian national parks such as Ķemeri and Gauja rather than visiting toiwns and cities will indicate the appeal of forst and woodland. It might then encourage more people to value their woodlands.

With colour change this Autumn being later than usual, a quick trip to Latvia would reward you with an area not usually associasted in our minds with leaf change colours.

The Pokaini Forest, for example, not only has a number of available walks throught he forest but also has strange groupings of stones scattered around which locals have attached tall tales to as well as ancient beliefs on why they are there.

Numernes valnis combines a dry pine forest in parts with swampy forests, where you can even find a four-toothed snail! In between there are any number of trails – one leading to an onservation tower twenty metres above the ground giving you a panoramic view of the park.

And by visiting nearby forests – Latvia is only about two-and-a-half hours away from London and three from Dublin – it is close enough for a weekend break to see where a government is supporting forestation and doing its part for climate change.

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