Tree felling at Rhyslyn, Afan Forest Park

Afan Forest Park

Trees infected with larch disease are being felled in the Rhyslyn section of Afan Forest Park. The work is anticipated to take around six months to complete. this is the best place to find accurate and up to date information on the Rhyslyn felling operation.

Timing of the operation

Forestry teams at Afan purposefully avoided starting this felling operation during the school summer holidays to minimise the impact on local businesses who rely on visitors to the forest, who visit the forest to enjoy walking, rambling, running, horse riding, cycling and mountain biking. 

Diversions and closures

Rhyslyn Harvesting Area 1

There will be some closures and diversions of walking and mountain bike trails while the work is carried out. Exact details of those are being finalised and will be added to this information hub.

We understand the recreational importance of Afan Forest Park and we are doing all we can to minimise the impact this will have on people who wish to visit the forest, whilst maintaining the highest level of safety possible for visitors and contractors.

We are anticipating the following trails will be impacted:

MTB Trails

Y Wal – for the duration of the harvesting work, there will be a temporary alteration to include an official start and finish at Bryn Bettws Lodge with a modified trail route.

Map of Temporary Y Wal mountain bike trail

Following a sequence of felling, the following trail section closures will need to be implemented and include:

Brickworks, Alpha, Elevator, 6ft Under, Resurrection, Stage 4, Zig Zags and Omega

Rookie Blue – during harvesting work in this area, the Rookie Blue will be closed.

Rheilffordd - for the duration of the harvesting work, the Rheilffordd along the Rhyslyn forest road will be closed. The Rheilffordd can still be accessed and used along the Sustrans route.

Walking Trails

Penrhys Walk - during harvesting work in this area, the Penrhys Walk will be closed.

River and railway walk - during harvesting work in this area, the River and railway walk will be closed.

Gyfylchi Ridge Top Trail - for the duration of the harvesting work, there will be a temporary alteration to include an official start and finish at Bryn Bettws Lodge with a modified trail route.

Gyfylchi Ridgetop Trail Diversion

Public rights of way - the timber purchaser WBE (Western Bio Energy) has applied for a formal closure of all the public rights of way within the coupe and along both extraction tracks to the timber stacking area.

The following will remain open:

  • All car parks
  • Y-WAL Temporary Route
  • Afan Bike Park
  • W2
  • White’s Level Trail
  • Blade Trail
  • Skyline Trail
  • Richard Burton Birthplace Trail
  • Rookie Green
  • Blue Scar Trail
  • Penhydd
  • Skills area on Rookie trail
  • Old Parish Road Walk

Larch Disease

We’re removing these trees as they are infected with larch disease, or Phytophthora ramorum.

This is a fungus-like disease that causes extensive damage and mortality to a wide range of other trees and plants. While we cannot stop the spread of larch disease, we can take action to slow it down.

We are legally required to remove infected larch trees under the Statutory Plant Health Notice - Movement (SPHNm) - which is issued by Welsh Government. All larch in Wales must be felled as part of our nationwide strategy to prevent further spread.

Help us avoid delays

We urge anyone visiting Afan Forest during the time of this felling operation to adhered to the diversions and closures in place.

When diversions and closures are ignored, people enter dangerous operational sites, forcing contractors to stop working until members of the public have moved out of the area. These interruptions can cause delays to the re-opening of the affected trails.

Information points

We will be updating all trail heads and installing information points in car parks at Afan Forest Park ahead of the felling work starting.

Post harvesting

After completion of the harvesting, all affected trails will be reinstated as swiftly as possible, and improvements will be made to some areas.

Visitors will be able to enjoy new viewpoints of the river.

There will also be extensive re-stocking with the planting of broadleaf and mixed conifer trees to grow a healthy and more resilient woodland.

Further questions

If you still have questions that are not answered with the information above, email enquiries@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk or call 0300 065 3000. 

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