A FESTIVE tradition for many families is heading out as a group to select the perfect Christmas tree.

However, for many in Monmouthshire this year will feel a little different.

Christmas Trees Wales, which normally operates each year from a lot in Wentwood forest, will not be returning to their usual spot this year.

Christmas Trees Wales is a family business and has been growing and selling real Christmas trees for more than 30 years.

"Our business is mainly based across South Wales and to date, we have planted 250,000 Christmas trees and more than 1.3 million forestry and woodland trees over the last 30 years across Wales," they said.

However, this year - due to health and safety issues - the firm's usual spot at the heart of ancient woodland in Wentwood has had to be changed.

Christmas Trees Wales' Sarah James said: "It is a real shame that we couldn't renew the lease agreement with NRW [Natural Resources Wales].

"We feel the site has many safety issues which would cost a huge amount of time and money to address."

She said that the entrance track to the site "has washed away (again) and the internal roads are very bad now".

"We are very sad and sorry for our loyal customers," she said.

However, all is not lost, as Christmas Trees Wales will this year be at IKEA in Cardiff selling "the same real Welsh Christmas trees as we did in Wentwood".

The trees will be available at the store from Wednesday, November 23.

Rhys Handley, Land Management Team Leader for Natural Resources Wales said: “We know nothing beats the smell of fresh pine needles this time of year and visiting the Christmas Tree Wales’ site at Wentwood forest was a treasured family tradition for many.

“Ensuring the health and safety of visitors to our forests is our utmost priority.

"The forest roads and entrance into Wentwood need to meet our forestry standard to ensure a safe environment is provided for customers.

"We therefore have no objection in reviewing the road conditions if a permission for an activity such as this was requested for this site.  

“Unfortunately, this year, Christmas Tree Wales chose to relocate their business but we wish them well for the future.”