Following recent updates on the progress of the Larch project, we can confirm that the woodland will be open to public access from Monday 13th March, 2023.
Whilst all felling activities have been completed , work will continue in terms of the hauling and removal of felled material, so there will still be large vehicles on site for the next few weeks.
With this in mind, we would advise all walkers to be aware of the potential hazards at this time and also suggest that dog walkers consider keeping their dogs on leads during the next few weeks.
Where possible, volunteers will be available on site to advise woodland users.
Once this phase of the project has been completed , work will begin on the broadleaf planting scheme . We would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have already expressed an interest in helping with the planting.
Again, we apologies for the inconvenience, but feel sure you appreciate the future benefits that will arise from the project.
Blaen Bran Community Woodland has been plagued by Phytophthora Romorum (a disease which infects Larch) for many years. This disease means that as time progresses the Larch within the woodland will become more and more of a risk to users and as such has been removed.
Whenever a block of woodland or particular species is removed a consideration needs to be made as to whether the remaining trees will be a hazard to such a heavily used area. The spruce plantation by Mountain Air gate has never been thinned and as such just removing the Larch was not an option. All of the remaining trees would have ended up falling over due to the wind and soil conditions present. Hence the removal of the block.
Above the reservoir is a similar issue. The large spruce has heavy decay present. As they and the Scots Pine there were heavily leaning towards the tracks, reservoir and the ancient boundary Beeches, which are of significant ecological value. We have to take a holistic view towards woodland management and ensure the safety of woodland users.
The Scots Pine has been suitably thinned to allow for continued growth and for a movement towards a continuous cover system. With this system there should (barring disease or significant weather events) be no need to clear fell this stand in the future.
There is an extensive replanting program being put in place to replace the clear felled sections with native broadleaves with a heavy percentage of Oak, Cherry and Beech present along with understory trees. This will involve bracken management and scraping down to the mineral soil to give the trees the best chance.
If you would like to take an active part in the planting programme, please contact us.
If you have any questions , please contact us at email@example.com
Blaen Bran Community Woodland Committee
Further to our previous updates, the Larch Removal Project has reached the stage where there will be an increased number of items of heavy plant within the woodlands, which, for operational reasons, will now be working simultaneously , at a number of different locations.
This has implications for the safe use of the woodlands at this point in time .
We therefore have no alternative but to close the woodland to public access from Monday 20th February , 2023 until Monday 13th March , 2023.
We apologies for the inconvenience , but feel certain that you will recognise the need to minimise the risk to woodland users.
Further to our recent update, we are advised that vehicles will now be on site from the morning of Monday 13th February, 2023, to begin work on the Larch Removal Project.
Felling is likely to start on the same day with hauling starting later the same week or at the beginning of the following week.
This work is likely to continue for some three to four weeks, so there will be a significant physical presence on site with regular movement of hauled material away from the woods.
As previously stated , appropriate safety measures will be in place, but users of the woodland are advised to exercise caution during this period.
In addition to the contract personnel , Blaen Bran volunteers will be on site, where possible, to update woodland users , as appropriate.
Further to our previous postings, we now have confirmation that work is due to start on the Larch removal project on Monday, 6th February , 2023.
This means that there will be a significant physical presence within the woodlands , during February and March.
As previously indicated , affected areas will be isolated and contractors will be acting as “banks persons” to ensure that users of the woodlands are kept safe.
There will be appropriate signage to advise people of the restrictions. In addition, where possible, volunteers from Blaen Bran will also be on site to assist users of the woodlands.
In addition to this there will be large plant travelling to and from the woodland via Upper Cwmbran Road, The Bus Terminus and The Square, and there will at times be regular large lorry movements in and out via the same route.
We apologise, in advance, for the inconvenience this will cause.
We will advise you of further developments as they occur, but if you have any questions , please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
BBCW have received a donation of £1000 from Henllys Lodge 8283 of the Monmouthshire Freemasons. The cheque was presented today by Worshipful Master Gareth White, Charity Steward Phillip Davies and Lodge Almoner Stuart Howells.
The money will go towards the purchase of a PTO woodchipper for use within the woodland.
On behalf of BBCW Trust Committee, we would like to thank the Lodge members for their kind donation.
Following our submission to Transport for Wales, we have successfully secured funding for the improvement of three access routes, within the woodlands. The funding comes from The National Lottery Heritage Fund Community Woodlands Scheme in partnership with the Welsh Government.
The improvement work included:
• Repairs to the Arboretum track, stairs, and treads as well as the installation of a drainage network to improve access
• Enhanced drainage and access, along the route from the Spring Gate to the Ancient Beeches as well as the installation of an additional bridge
• Reinstatement of the track from the Fire Circle to the turning known as Crew Corner
Work on the project started in late summer and will continue until early Spring next year – although a lot has already been achieved. We are pleased with the positive responses from users of the woodland and will use the success of the project as the basis for further improvements in the future.
In line with BBCW’s Larch removal project, notices of public path closures have today been placed at the woodland entrances. We are still waiting for NRW to produce the written permissions for the project to start and should have an update at the beginning of next week.
However, we believe the project will probably begin in January.
FOR NOW, ALL PATHS REMAIN OPEN FOR USE.