Important information – Please read
Proposed thinning of ash trees suffering with ash dieback
In October 2019 the Forestry Commission confirmed that our woodland is infected with Chalara ash dieback, and advised us to begin removing all infected trees.
We plan to remove the infected ash trees in three phases over the next three years, to allow the woodland time to recover and regenerate between each stage.
Phase 1: Jan/Feb 2020. Removal of ash trees immediately surrounding yurts & cabins.
Phase 2: Jan/Feb 2021. Removal of central stand of ash trees.
Phase 3: Jan/Feb 2022. Removal of perimeter ash trees.
n.b. Forest Garden Shovelstrode will be closed for accommodation bookings during these times.
The ash trees will be carefully felled by hand to minimise the impact on the other trees. This will create natural glades around each yurt and cabin, that will initially feel more open, but very soon the remaining trees and hazel understorey will close the canopy, and natural regeneration will occur. This will be supplemented by the planting of a variety of trees, creating a more diverse and resilient woodland for the future.
If you would like to help us, and the planet, by making a donation to Plant a Tree then please visit our Justgiving page.
Charles & Lisa
Please take a moment to watch ‘A year in the life of an ash tree’.
What is Ash Dieback?
Ash dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus ) was first reported in UK in 2012. It is a fast spreading fungus which originated in eastern Asia. The disease affects the tree’s vascular system and the pathogen causes necrosis in the sapwood, which in turn affects the tree’s ability to draw nutrients into its upper branches. It is now present all across UK, and it is expected that the majority of ash trees in woodlands will decline and die over the next 10–15 years.
Our woodland is designated as Ancient Semi Natural Woodland, and is largely an overgrown ash and hazel coppice. The timber was historically harvested to fuel the old iron pits in the woodland. It had been neglected for many years until 2010 when we cleared the fallen timber from the ‘87 storm.
In 2010 we decided not to coppice the ash, but to manage and preserve it. We have monitored the progression of ash die back since its arrival to UK in 2012, but in October 2019 the woodland officer confirmed that our ash trees were infected with the disease, and that we should implement a plan for their removal.
The woodland comprises of many species including ash, oak, beech, maple, alder, poplar, crab apple and cherry. The lower canopy is made up of coppiced hazel, yew and holly. There is a diverse ground flora which includes honeysuckle, wood spurge, wild garlic, primroses, bluebells, yellow pimpernell and early orchids.
The woodland is also teeming with plenty of wildlife such as bats, badgers, owls, rabbits, woodpeckers, deer, newts, frogs and a heron!