Tree disease threat to Yate nature reserve leads to planting scheme to protect site

May 03 2017

THE first steps have been taken in a 20-year plan to ensure the future of a nature reserve in Yate.

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THE first steps have been taken in a 20-year plan to ensure the future of a nature reserve in Yate.

Ash dieback disease is the major threat to the Wapley Bushes reserve as it has been found within a dozen miles of the town.

To combat the expected effect of the problem, the Wapley Bushes Conservation Group has started to plant other tree species that will have become established by the time the ash trees on site fall victim to the disease.

The project has now been recognised through a community award given by South Gloucestershire Council’s chairwoman Erica Williams.

The group’s spokesman, Paul Hulbert, said: “We are very proud to receive this award - it's the first time the community award has been given to groups rather than individuals.

"We've been looking after Wapley Bushes for 24 years on behalf of owners, Dodington Parish Council, but now it's time to look further into the future.

"Eventually, but fortunately very slowly, we will lose most of the tallest trees that form the canopy of this ancient woodland.

“We have started a long-term programme of replacement planting with different tall native species such as oak, whitebeam, black poplar and small-leafed lime.

"We have planted our first batch of 30 trees with the help of South Gloucestershire's new Member Awarded Funding scheme and we are aiming to plant another 90 trees next winter, gradually working our way through the woodland.

“By the time we start seeing major effects from ash dieback, the new trees should be at least semi-mature and the reserve will be able to carry on supporting a wide range of species.”

The reserve has been a regular South West in Bloom and Green Flag Community Award winner, with the conservation group running a range of work mornings, walks and activities.

Anyone interested in the group should email paul.hulbert@gmail.com or phone 01454 315851.