Tackling ash dieback at Coughton

Felled wood left out on the estate

Ash dieback is a growing concern across the country including at many National Trust properties and we will sadly see the decline and death of many – maybe the majority - of ash trees over the next few years.

Where trees die in places where they could affect people, we have an obligation to work on them to ensure the safety of staff, volunteers, visitors and the wider public. We never fell trees without due consideration, and we have a comprehensive policy in place to help us make these decisions around ash dieback.

Work is due to start throughout February 2022 and will be taking place along the entrance drive to the property and in Timm's Grove out on the estate. We are aiming to have these works completed by the time Coughton re-opens for the season in March.

Ash dieback is a growing concern across the UK for many National Trust properties
A ranger felling a tree in the parkland
Ash dieback is a growing concern across the UK for many National Trust properties

Ash dieback is caused by a fungus called Hymenoscyphus fraxineus; it is also commonly known as ‘Chalara’ after an old scientific name. The fungal disease originated in Asia and more than likely arrived in mainland Europe and the UK due to the movement of plants as part of global trade. The fungus spreads quickly as its spores are wind borne. It can take from 1 - 30 years for a tree to die after being infected. The record-breaking dry spell in spring 2020 made ash trees more susceptible to the disease. 

We are responding to ash dieback by undertaking tree safety work near footpaths, roads and accessible woodland. The disease weakens the tree's structure making them extremely prone to uprooting and limb drop and therefore unsafe to be around. Some of the felled trees will be removed and re-purposed as firewood and some out on the estate will be left. The deadwood and log stacks left behind are excellent for fungi, soil condition, invertebrates and birds.

Contractors and our ranger team will be busy throughout the winter months felling the diseased trees
Trees being felled by contractors out on the estate
Contractors and our ranger team will be busy throughout the winter months felling the diseased trees