Fungal disease means ash trees will be cut down at Dovedale
NATIONAL Trust rangers are working hard to ensure public safety and improve woodlands in the Peak District dales in response to the threat posed by a fungal tree disease.
Ash dieback – sometimes known as Chalara – arrived in Britain in 2012 and affects ash trees, which are the dominant tree in the White Peak and form around 80 per cent of the canopy of our woods.
National Trust officiuals say experience from Europe has demonstrated that the vast majority of ash trees may be affected by the disease over the next few years.
It is hard to spot the symptoms at this time of year but in summer the lack of leaves on many White Peak ash trees is now very obvious to see.
Contractors will start work soon to fell ash trees that may pose a hazard to the public in Dovedale where trained rangers have identified around 80 trees by the main path that are dead or close to death and require work.
The rangers also have a significant woodland management project under way to improve the quality of White Peak woods for wildlife, especially in the face of ash dieback.
Small areas of woodland are felled to promote natural regeneration by tree species other than ash, while in some places the rangers and volunteers will also plant native trees to ensure the woods continue to thrive.
Luke Barley, lead ranger in the White Peak, said: “Ash dieback poses a big threat to the health of the many ash trees in the White Peak and our woodlands are inevitably going to change dramatically.
“The ranger team work hard to ensure public safety so some trees will be felled along the main path in Dovedale.
“But we assess them carefully and only cut those down where it’s really necessary.
“We’re also working hard to promote biodiversity in our woods in the face of this threat.’