The Scarborough News

Tree felling in Raincliffe Woods sparks concern among the public

Woodland groups seek to reassure people that work is in the interest of restoring the site

- By Susan Stephenson susan.stephenson@jpress.co.uk Twitter @SStephenso­nSN

Concerns have been raised over the future of Raincliffe Woods after a programme of tree felling got under way.

Residents contacted The Scarboroug­h News and posted comments on Facebook asking for answers as to why heavy machinery had been brought on site to cut down large numbers of trees at the beauty spot.

Jayne Strutt, who set up the Save Raincliffe Woods Facebook group, said she had “immense concerns” about what is happening.

She said having attended a guided walk by The Woodland Trust earlier this year to learn about the project, it now seems the felling is happening on a much larger scale.

Ms Strutt said: “I’m concerned that heavy duty machinery is causing damage just getting access to do the felling.

“It’s covering the floor with debris and light from the canopy can’t hit the ground. I see this as a large and detrimenta­l intrusion.”

Christine Hutchinson also contacted The Scarboroug­h News, asking questions about where the wood and the proceeds are going, how local people will benefit and how the woodland can regenerate under a carpet of brash.

She said at the moment it just appears to be “an asset stripped and a mess to clear up.”

Robert Sword, chairman of the Raincliffe Wood Community Enterprise, explained that they are running the project and instructin­g The Woodland Trust to carry out the work.

He said the felling of non-native species such as larch is taking place as part of a long-term plan to restore site as ancient broadleaf woodland.

Mr Sword explained: “I fully understand that there are people who will be very concerned. I’m not criticisin­g them at all and would ask them to listen to us.

“We’re carrying out the woodland operation in our business plan, which is to turn it back into broadleaf woodland with far greater biodiversi­ty than at present.

“Forestry work is brutal, but the end product will be an improvemen­t on what is there now.” He asked people with any questions to email claire.robinson@cavca.org.uk Trees in Raincliffe Woods have been covered in handwritte­n notes since the felling began with messages saying “Goodbye tree”. Campaigner­s are angry about the scale of the felling and have questioned how the community will really benefit from the work. However, site manager Mark Feather from The Woodland Trust is among those who want to reassure residents. He said: “For the first year or two work will look detrimenta­l to the site. It’s kind of being cruel to be kind.” He added that 1,000 tonnes of timber will be taken out per year over three years and all the money from timber sales will go back into supporting the woodland and for improvemen­t work on the site itself. Contractor Simon Bowes said it is also important to remove the larch now because it is at risk of being killed off by a pathogen called phytophtho­ra ramorum within five years.

 ?? 154501B ?? Site manager Mark Feather from the Woodland Trust pictured at Raincliffe Gate. Picture by Richard Ponter 154501b
154501B Site manager Mark Feather from the Woodland Trust pictured at Raincliffe Gate. Picture by Richard Ponter 154501b

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