Emergency tree felling in Stanmer Park

Emergency tree felling in Stanmer Park

Following increasing incidents of diseased ash trees falling onto well used paths in Stanmer Park, and the very real risk of significant injury this poses, emergency tree falling will begin today (10 July 2024) within the park’s Great Wood.

While this is happening, public access to the woodland will be via alternative safe routes which have already been attended to. Clear signage and barriers will be in place to keep park users safe.

Caring for nesting birds

The threat from falling trees and the duty of care we have to the public means that we have had to take the exceptional decision to carry out this work during the designated bird nesting season, which runs from March until the end of July.

Where we’ve had to carry out woodland ash dieback removals in the nesting season before, we work closely with an independent ecologist to ensure that the disturbance to wildlife is minimised.

The site will be thoroughly surveyed before and as works progress by the ecologist, and any active nests will be avoided until the chicks have fledged. Only once the nest is no longer active will work be allowed to continue in the vicinity.

The alternative would have been to close Great Wood to prevent the public from accessing areas of concern. The wood within Stanmer Park is very popular and has many access routes and unofficial paths. Closing the entire woodland would be extremely difficult and possibly ineffective, with park users being able to access the affected areas easily from many points.

The increasing threat from falling trees

Extensive ash dieback tree felling was completed this winter/early spring in Stanmer Park. This has improved safety along one route through Great Wood, but the spread of the disease has advanced to the point where other routes through the park are now unsafe.

Diseased ash trees are falling more often and the size of trees falling has increased recently. The symptoms and effects of ash dieback – including canopy decline, dead branches and trees falling following even minor winds – are now occurring more often and affecting larger, more mature ash trees.

This means the risk to the public has increased substantially and the threat of significant injury occurring is now high and not acceptable.

Staying safe

While felling is underway we are asking park users to look out for and follow the diversion/closure signs in the woods.

Work should take 3 to 4 weeks. The only paths to be closed will be next to areas where work is taking place and diversions will be sign-posted. There will also be a mobile team working throughout the woodland to ensure that the diversion paths are safe to use.

Further work will still need to be carried out at a later point as there are other diseased trees in Stanmer Park woods which can be left during the nesting season due to being in slightly lower risk areas. We will return at a later date to remove them.

You can read more about how we manage ash dieback.