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.
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Blaen Bran Community Woodland Committee