Ash dieback at Reigate Hill and Gatton Park

Enjoy the view of the North Downs from Gatton Park

Ash dieback is spreading at Reigate Hill and Gatton Park. It’s causing some trees to become brittle and potentially in danger of becoming unstable or shedding limbs. For this reason some ash trees will be removed from the estate this year.

'We realise that seeing machinery removing trees in well-loved landscapes is difficult for people. As a team we find it hard too. The forestry operation to remove ash trees at Reigate is an unwelcome, but necessary job to instruct. We need to act to ensure people are safe,’ says Marc Russell, Area Ranger at Reigate Hill and Gatton Park.

Trees have been individually assessed, however along Back Lane and some sections of the North Downs Way and Pilgrims way the majority of the trees are ash trees and are infected. So whilst there should not be many large gaps in woodland there will be areas of higher visibility to visitors and the public. In some areas there will be diversions to walking routes. 

When will the works start and how long will they go on for?

The forestry operations will be taking place on and off  over the next few years until such time that we have removed all of the trees that present a risk to the public..

Birds usually nest in that tree you’re felling?

We hope to avoid the nesting season, but every tree has a wildlife impact assessment before any work is started. If a bird is building a nest, the felling will be put on hold unless there is an urgent need to remove it.

Will the works interfere with my visit?

It may be necessary to temporarily divert footpaths or close off small areas where works are taking place. This should be for no more than a couple of days.

Will there be big machinery?

Ash dieback can render trees more brittle than usual, making them unsafe for climbing. The tree surgery contractor will use specialist mechanical equipment to remove trees safely.

Will it look like a war zone afterwards?

Some areas will look messy for awhile due to the amount of timber being left on site. It's more beneficial to wildlife to leave the timber than removing it all. Over the next few years this will start to blend in to the woodland and will not be so noticeable. In other areas we are only removing individual trees where it’s necessary to do so, therefore the impact on the visual landscape will be minimal.

Are you planting any trees to compensate for the ones you’re felling?

Trees that have been removed will open up the canopy in the woodland for natural regeneration.