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Thu, 25 January 2024

Tree works to begin in early 2024

After the long hot summer last year, our ranger team began to notice signs of disease in a number of sycamore trees along the woodland path. Many of the trees were infected with Sooty Bark Disease (Cryptostroma corticale).

Fungal spores infect trees and lay dormant, being activated during periods of prolonged hot weather or if the tree becomes stressed.
At the same time as inspecting the woodland for Sooty Bark, our fantastic ranger team were disappointed to see that many of the ash trees on the gorge sides above the Crags were also diseased, suffering with Ash Dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus).

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Our small ranger team, alongside an army of dedicated volunteers, works tirelessly to look after the woodland and green areas of the Crags, but sometimes nature is against us, and right now we are facing an uphill battle to ensure our landscape is resilient to changes in climate and provides habitats and food for wildlife, insects and invertebrates.

Managing Disease
The shocking fact that up to 80% of the UK’s ash trees will be killed by Ash Dieback* is a sobering thought, as there is no cure. Nor is there a cure or remedy for Sooty Bark Disease. The trees infected will ultimately die, and as they do the spores can spread to neighbouring trees. As the trees die off they will become weaker and more prone to breakage.

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Felling Works
To prevent the spread of both diseases and to keep the site safe, a large number of trees on the woodland path and above the gorge will need to be felled.
The works will take place during early 2024 by specialist contractors.

The Future
The felled trees will either be removed from site, or allowed to rot, creating new homes for wildlife already living in Creswell Crags.
New, native species of trees will be planted around the site too, adding to the vast 600 trees planted during 2023.

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Further Reading
You can read more about Ash Dieback and Sooty Bark Disease using the links below.
Ash Dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus) - Woodland Trust
Sycamore - Forest Research