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Forestry operations Leigh Woods

Updated 21st August 2020

We will be felling areas of Leigh Woods from September 2020.

Some of these works will be taking place on the weekend as felling involves closing the railway line for periods of time.  The works will impact some of our trails and car parking area, this page provides more information about the work we are doing and why.

Timber stack in the woods


What is happening?

We will be clear felling areas of non- native trees on the steep banks above the railway line and overlooking the Avon gorge.  These works are complex with planned downtime to the railway line, specialist winching and felling teams along with co-ordinated removal of timber through the woodland at off peak times.   The works are due to last for around 12 weeks and throughout the duration of these complex felling works there maybe disruption to walking trails , you will notice a significant operational presence in the woodland with banks persons, harvesting machinery signage and timber stacks.

The works will have a significant visual impact on the landscape, those walking, cycling or driving on the Portway under the Clifton Suspension bridge will witness this dramatic change over the months and years as the landscape changes from established woodland to the stark contrast of the bare felled areas and in time as the replanted native trees grow and soften the visual impact overtime.


Will you be replanting?

Yes – these works provide us with a fantastic opportunity to restock the felled areas with native species such as Small Leaved Lime, Hazel and Round leaved Whitebeam.  We are also able to plant a small amount of the Bristol Whitebeam, one of eight native trees of the genus Sorbus that are endemic to the Avon Gorge, this species has been carefully propagated from seed collected in the Avon Gorge specifically for us to replant here in Leigh Woods.


Can I still visit Leigh Woods?

Yes - the woodland will remain open throughout our harvesting operations, the most important thing for us is to keep the public, our staff, and contractors safe. We will have safety and operational signage displayed, diversions, closures, and banks persons in position at times. This is for your safety, whether you can see or hear us working, it is important you read and listen to all instructions very carefully and obey all instruction.

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.


What about the wildlife?

Well managed forests are able to support more wildlife, and harvesting trees is an important part of a sustainable forest lifecycle. 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 also consider these 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. While working, we continue to check for wildlife and will adapt, pause or suspend work if we find any animal that must be protected.