Forestry operations at Savernake Forest

Updated 18th October 2021

Savernake Forest is a working woodland, leased and managed by Forestry England. We are working here from Monday 18 October 2021 for approximately four weeks. This page provides more information about the work we're doing.

 

What is happening?

We are working removing a number of ash along the A346 at the edge of the forest. These trees are showing more than 50% crown dieback caused by chalara ash dieback, which makes them potentially unsafe due to the risk of dropping limbs or falling entirely. All ash trees showing 50% or more crown dieback within a tree length of the public highway will be felled or otherwise made safe e.g. pollarded. Some trees with advanced decay will be felled and left on the ground to support Savernake’s important dead wood habitat.

At the same time, we are removing some additional trees because they are growing close to veteran trees. This ‘haloing’ gives the veterans more light and space to remain healthy.

The understorey within five metres of the road will also be coppiced to improve visibility along the road.

The A346 at Savernake Forest will be subject to two-way traffic lights on weekdays from Monday 18 October, from 09:00 – 16:30 until Friday 29 October.

Continuing on Monday 1 November from 09:00 to 15:30 on weekdays until 12 November to allow us to safely remove diseased ash trees from the roadside.

The first phase of works will last for 4 weeks. It is likely that this first phase will be followed by more work under traffic lights or a full road closure.

Map showing A346 South of Marlborough

 

Can I still visit Savernake Forest?

The most important thing for Forestry England is to keep the public, our staff, and contractors safe. While the forest remains open we might need to close or divert walking routes to allow us to work nearby. We will share information about this with as much notice as possible via clear signage, website updates, and Facebook posts.

Please follow all signs, diversions, and closures 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.

 

What about the wildlife?

Well managed forests support more wildlife, and controlling the spread of pests and diseases is an important part of sustainable forest management. 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 our findings against complex factors including tree health, how the ground slopes, soil condition, and likely rainfall when planning forestry work.

We have carefully surveyed the trees to be removed and the area surrounding them. This work is happening outside bird nesting season and, where it is safe, we will leave some standing dead trees to provide insect habitat and perches for birds.

Our forestry team will keep all machinery at least five metres away from all veteran trees. While working, we continue to check for wildlife and adapt, pause or suspend work if necessary.

 

Where can I find out more?

If you have any questions about this work, please contact us at westengland@forestryengland.uk.