Butcher’s Wood – action for Ash in 2021
As you may know, Ash dieback is a serious fungal disease that is killing ash trees across Europe. Young trees can die quickly once infected, while older trees can be slowly killed by a yearly cycle of infection. One such wood that has been affected in the South East is Butchers Wood, in Hassocks, West Sussex. Disease control is always a challenging task and on this site we are working with other organisations, such as Action in Rural Sussex – as well as our dedicated volunteer group – to ensure that the local community is communicated with and understand why this is sadly required.
The Woodland Trust have been steadily removing the worst affected trees at Butchers since 2018 but now the disease has taken hold here so, this Autumn, action is being taken for the safety of visitors and neighbours by removing all ash trees with significant decline next to footpaths and properties. Visitors to the wood may be reassured to know that the work has been carefully planned with consent from the Forestry Commission and in line with the Woodland Trust’s ash dieback Position Statement, which can be viewed here: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/publications/2019/06/ash-dieback-position-statement/
As with other woods where felling work has had to happen, the Trust are only removing ash trees where necessary. Ash trees out of falling distance of footpaths and properties and those showing the most significant signs of resistance to the disease are being retained and monitored at Butchers. The works start in September 2021 and are taking place outside of bird nesting season. This is to avoid the wettest periods to minimise the impact on the soil and ground flora where possible. Timber will be extracted and branches cut up to avoid smothering the woodland floor.
The majority of the wood’s trees, including oak, hornbeam, hazel, wild cherry, hawthorn and silver birch are unaffected by the disease and will maintain habitat for wildlife while their saplings will gradually fill the gaps where ash used to be. The volunteers at the wood will be helping to monitor the effect of the ash felling work on the wood’s ecosystem after the work has been done.
As you can see, this sort of woodland management is detailed and well planned. If you have any questions or comments about any disease control on the Estate, please do let us know.
Words: South East communications team and Phil Truluck (Site Manager for Butchers)