Yate nature reserve trees fall victim to disease
A YATE nature reserve will be transformed after many of its tallest trees fell victim to disease.
Contractors were set to begin work at the end of October to remove branches from trees at Wapley Bushes Nature Reserve which have fallen victim to ash dieback disease.
There is no cure for the fungal disease, and around 25 affected trees are set to be cut back, with their branches removed and 6m (20ft) trunk 'monoliths' left behind to provide a habitat for insects and birds as they gradually decay.
The works have been commissioned by Dodington Parish Council, which says the disease has spread throughout the woodland.
Professional surveys have identified the affected trees and those near to the reserve's main paths will be made safe.
Ash dieback particularly affects Wapley Bushes because most of the tallest trees in the woods are ash.
The fungus originated in Asia but has crossed Europe and is now sweeping the UK. It kills around 95% of affected ash trees.
The council said: "The best remedy is replanting with other trees to keep the right habitat for birds, woodland creatures, insects, fungi and other plants."
People planning to visit the woods have been warned to take care while the work is carried out by a team from Teign Trees and Landscapes.
The parish council and Wapley Bushes Conservation Group are planning an "extensive replanting programme", and aim to plant more than 250 trees during future winter planting seasons.
Parish councillor and conservation group member Paul Hulbert said: “We knew that this infection was coming, so our volunteers started planting replacements three years ago.
"We’ve planted the first 300 young trees, but there’s lots more to do.
"Please contact the Parish Council if you would like to help preserve the woodland for future generations."
Wapley Bushes Nature Reserve, which is between Shire Way and Besom Lane, is owned by the parish council and looked after by the Wapley Bushes conservation group, with members from the Southwold branch of Avon Wildlife Trust, and South Gloucestershire Council.