Ash dieback in Somerset

A healthy tree

We're doing all we can to help tackle ash dieback disease on our land.

The ash tree is a native British species of tree, providing around five per cent of all woodland cover in the UK.

There are an estimated 80 million ash trees in the UK, helping to shape some of our best loved landscapes. We manage 25,000 hectares (61,776 acres) of woodland and 135 landscape sites and deer parks which include thousands of veteran ash trees and several hundred ancient ash trees over 300 years old.

Chalara dieback of ash is a disease of ash trees caused by a fungus called Hymenoscyphus fraxineus. Once a tree is infected in most of the cases, the tree’s health will decline and often succumb to secondary fungal infection.

As ash trees succumb to the disease and slowly die, they can drop limbs and branches, collapse or fall. 

Holnicote Estate

The felling works will take place at Horner Wood, along the roadsides and various other locations across the Estate. The work will be carried out by specialist contractors, alongside our team of rangers over the next 12 months.

Mendip Hills

From 14 December 2020 the National Trust car park at Winscombe Hill will be closed while forestry works take place. Somerset County Council have also agreed to a temporary closure of the West Mendip Way through King’s Wood.

Over the past few months, we’ve been assessing and monitoring the health of ash trees on our land. As a result of these surveys, we have identified over 2500 trees across the Mendip Hill’s including; King’s Wood, Shute Shelve, Tor Hills Woods and Cheddar Gorge, that pose a risk to public safety and unfortunately urgently need felling.

Fyne Court and the Quantock Hills

From 11 to 15 January 2021 Fyne Court will be closed for essential forestry operations. 

We have identified over 200 trees across the Fyne Court estate that pose a risk to public safety and unfortunately urgently need felling.

We have taken the decision to only fell affected ash trees that are in high risk zones including along public highways, rights of way, well used paths, permissive routes and near residential areas and car parks.

To ensure the safety of our staff and visitors, the resulting impact will mean the temporary closure of the ‘Five Ponds Wood’ waymarked trail, from 15 December 2020. This beloved woodland area is largely made up of ash trees.

The countryside team will be managing the woodlands regeneration post felling through a combination of natural regeneration and planting of native broadleaf trees and shrubs to enhance its benefit for wildlife and people. The team will also seek to retain and enhance wildlife features where safe including standing and fallen deadwood. We will also be using this opportunity to review and upgrade the path network within the woodland