Forestry operations at East Harptree

Updated 21st November 2022

We have been issued with a Plant Health Notice because Phytophthora ramorum (‘larch disease’) has been identified in several areas of East Harptree. There is no treatment or cure for this contagious plant disease, so we must remove all the infected trees.

 

What is happening?

We are clearfelling areas of infected trees equivalent to around 14 football pitches and removing selected trees from further areas. We are legally required to remove all diseased trees to try to minimise the spread of phytophthora ramorum. East Harptree is a working forest producing sustainable timber. By following appropriate biosecurity procedures, we can ensure that this timber can still be used.

 

Can I still visit East Harptree?

The most important thing for Forestry England is to keep the public, our staff, and contractors safe. The forest is still open for you to visit but please follow all signs and instructions at all times. These are for your safety, whether or not you can see or hear us working. This will help us to finish working as quickly as possible. Forestry work is very hazardous. A falling tree can weigh several tonnes and hit the ground at nearly 60mph. If a harvesting machine chainsaw snaps, it can fly through the forest like a bullet.

Please help us manage the spread of this disease by brushing all soil and leaves from your boots, wheels, paws, and hooves before you leave the forest.

 

What about the wildlife?

Before we start any forestry work, we carry out thorough ecological surveys to check for species such as birds, mammals, rodents, invertebrates, flora, and fungi. We consider these findings against complex factors including tree health, how the ground slopes, soil condition, and likely rainfall when planning work that will support our long-term management plan.

On this occasion, we have no choice but to remove the infected trees and will take every care to minimise wildlife disturbance. We will continue to check for wildlife while working.

 

Where can I find out more?

Find out more about Phytophthora ramorum.