Nidd Gorge: 500 trees to be felled due to spread of infectious disease

A total of 500 larch trees are to be felled at Harrogate beauty spot Nidd Gorge this summer due to the spread of an infectious disease, the Woodland Trust has announced.

The spread of a disease called phytophthora ramorum - which devastates trees such as larch - is behind the decision.

The Woodland Trust has been issued with a Statutory Plant Health Notice from Forestry England ordering it to fell the affected larch trees – the disease particularly attacks these trees and is a fungal like organism which spreads easily between tree plantations.

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Once detected in a woodland, felling is the best way to prevent the disease spreading further. This will mean some of the footpaths will need to be closed this summer for approximately four to six weeks whilst the works are taking place.

Hundreds of trees are to be felled at Nidd Gorge in the coming weeks.

Paul Bunton, community engagement officer at the Woodland Trust, said the situation is challenging.

“It is devastating news for our site team and visitors that we are having to reluctantly fell these diseased trees at Nidd Gorge to protect others. Phytophthora ramorum, while of no risk to the public, is one of the biggest threats to our native tree species at the site.

“Nidd Gorge is and will remain a really popular and cherished woodland close to Harrogate and Knaresborough.

“We ask the public to bear with us while we carry out the work.

“There will be some disruption as we will be forced to close some footpaths for safety reasons.”

Nidd Gorge woodland clings to a dramatic steep-sided valley. Its patchwork of habitats supports a wealth of wildlife and flora, including relics of an intriguing history dating back to the Iron Age.

The location is particularly popular with walkers, with its higher points offering impressive views of the nearby towns of Knaresborough and Harrogate.