The felling operation
What is larch disease?
Larch disease, or Phytophthora Ramorum, is a fungus like disease can cause extensive damage and mortality to a wide range of trees and other plants which spreads through airborne spores from tree to tree. It poses no threat to human or animal health. Almost all of the larch trees at Cwmcarn have been infected by larch disease. Whilst we cannot stop the spread of larch disease, we can take action to slow it down.
How much of the forest has been affected?
Over three-quarters of the trees in the Forest Drive road area of Cwmcarn forest were larch trees - approx. 160,000 trees. The larch accounted for around 30% of trees across other forest blocks in Cwmcarn forest.
When will the felling be complete?
Much of the felling has now been completed, with some small sections left to remove from the northern side of the forest. We will provide an update on when we expect this to be completed as soon we can.
Why did you have to close Forest Drive Road?
The safety of the public had to be our number one priority. The Forest Drive road is a single track, one-way road system for most of its length. The road has been used for site harvesting equipment during operations. Timber has been stored directly on or adjacent to the road and loaded onto lorries. Large haulage lorries therefore needed to travel along the road at regular intervals.
What will happen to the felled timber and brash left behind by the felling?
The felled timber which you may have seen stacked on the side of the road will be removed offsite and taken to timber mills to be processed.
Generally it is considered best practice to leave brash (small twigs and branches) on site to naturally break down. This is because it provides many benefits to the environment including creating valuable habitat and providing nutrients for the next generation of trees.
However, due to concerns about fire risk following last year’s deliberately set fires, we are already removing some of the brash, and employing specialist machinery to break down the material that remain on site.
Have you planted new trees to replace the larch?
Replanting began in January 2017, with the introduction of 170,000 new, young trees being planted in areas where the larch had been clear felled. These included a mixture of native broadleaf and conifer.
Unfortunately many of the newly planted trees were subsequently destroyed in the summer of 2018 following after fires were deliberately set during extremely hot and dry conditions.
The damage caused by the fire has caused a huge set back to our restocking efforts, but work continues to stock new trees. An additional 30,000 trees have been planted to replace those damaged by the fire, and we plan to plan another 30,000 during summer 2019.
When will all the mountain bike trails be open?
We hope to have all mountain bike trails open later this summer. Work has already started in some areas to re-establish tracks which have been impacted by the felling.
The future of Cwmcarn Forest Drive
When are you reopening the drive?
Now the felling operation is coming to an end we are making plans to reopen the Forest Drive. We have now secured the budget and have appointed a project manager to oversee the process. We hope to have the Forest Drive reopened by spring 2020.
Will NRW be involving local people and groups in decisions about the future of the site?
We know how valued Cwmcarn is to local people and we want them to be part of the discussions around its future. Our project manager has already held a number of drop in sessions where local people and visitors have shared with us their thoughts on what they’d like to see at the site in the future.
We’ll share more information about our plans as they develop.
How will NRW keep us informed about the plans?
It’s important to us that the community are involved in our plans every step of the way. We plan to issue newsletters and hold further events on site at Cwmcarn to keep people in the loop as our plans progress. If you’d like to receive newsletters from us in the future please email your details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How much is it costing to reopen the Forest Drive and how is it being funded?
We have £1,000,000 set aside to reopen the drive. This will include resurfacing works, installation of highway safety infrastructure, and basic amenities such as picnic tables and bbqs.
Further development of recreational areas along the drive will continue in different phases when the drive has been reopened.
When will work start?
Due to the scale of the project, the Forest Drive will be developed in several phases. You can expect to see work beginning on areas along the Drive during winter 2019, with resurfacing works on the Drive itself taking place in early 2020. During planned works, some recreational routes will have temporary restricted access for safety reasons. However, please be assured that sufficient notification will be given relating to any temporary restrictions on site.
What will the different areas be called?
In the past, the areas along the drive have been named carpark 1, 2, 3 etc. However, going forwards, we would like each area to be given a name representing something about the site’s historical/cultural significance.
If you would like to suggest a name for one of the areas, or a theme for the areas identified on the site map overleaf, please email your idea(s) by August 20th 2019, entitling your email ‘Cwmcarn Forest Drive Area Names’ along with your name and a short explanation of your suggestion to: email@example.com