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
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 email@example.com 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.