Woodland Trust to fell 500 trees in Nidd Gorge to save popular Harrogate woodland from disease

The Woodland Trust is being forced to fell 500 trees at its popular Harrogate site to tackle tree disease in the area.

By Graham Chalmers
Friday, 29th April 2022, 10:58 am
Updated Friday, 29th April 2022, 11:01 am

An infectious disease, phytophthora ramorum - which devastates native trees - has been ripping through Nidd Gorge.

As a result, some of the woodland has been issued with a Statutory Plant Health Notice from Forestry England ordering it to fell the affected larch trees.

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Nidd Gorge - The Woodland Trust is being forced to fell 500 trees to tackle tree disease in this much-loved part of Harrogate.

This is not the sort of intervention the Woodland Trust undertakes lightly.

Paul Bunton, community engagement officer from the Woodland Trust, said: “It is devastating news for our site team and visitors that we are having to reluctantly fell these diseased trees at Nidd Gorge to protect others.

"Phytophthora ramorum, while of no risk to the public, is one of the biggest threats to our native tree species at the site.

“Nidd Gorge is and will remain a really popular and cherished woodland close to Harrogate and Knaresborough and we ask the public to bear with us while we carry out the work.

“Our community events are a great opportunity for people to find out more before the work starts, especially those who visit the woodland on a regular basis.”

Although Larch is not native to the UK, the disease particularly attacks these trees and is a fungal like organism which spreads easily between tree plantations.

Once detected in a woodland, felling is the best way to prevent the disease spreading further.

This will mean some of the footpaths will need to be closed this spring and summer whilst the works are taking place.

The Trust is holding a drop-in session this weekend to let people know about these significant works.

Taking place at Bilton Community Centre on Saturday, April 30 from 10am and 4pm. It will be an opportunity to quiz trust staff about Nidd Gorge and the wider work of the woodland charity.

For more informatioon the Woodland Trust, visit:

www.woodlandtrust.org.uk