Woodland in Llangollen ‘looks like a hurricane has been through it’ after Woodland Trust action

Reporter:

Josh Morris

A wood that community members stumped up thousands of pounds to save has been left looking “like a hurricane has been through it” after the trust that looks after it cut down dozens of trees.

Llangollen residents contributed £38,000 in just eight weeks to buy the Pen y coed woodland from the Forestry Commission, who put the woodland up for sale in 1994.

The Woodland Trust now look after the site and launched a consultation two years ago into how it manages the wood.

That consultation saw them decide to remove non-native conifer trees in order to be able to return to a woodland with more broadleaf trees in the next 20-30 years.

However, locals have felt cut out of the process which has seen felled trees left strewn across the ground with their fears realised after Storm Doris sent logs flying across paths.

Local resident Stephen Jasper said: “The residents of Llangollen contributed £38,000 towards the upkeep of the wood but it just looks as if a hurricane has been through it.

“I’ve been going to the woods for 50 years and I’ve never seen it looking so bad.” 

Another local, Leslie Davies, said; “The pine trees in Pen y coed are not there by mistake or accident, they were planted by a previous generation for use today and in the future.

“It’s wrong that the trust intend to waste this entire crop of pine, a legacy left to us by our forefathers.

“And it is ironic that currently a local timber processing company is speaking to the Welsh government about the lack of timber being planted for the future and predicting that Wales could run short of timber in the future.” 

Llangollen councillor, Stuart Davies said: “It’s a bit of a mess. I had a chat with the Woodlands Trust and passed on our concerns. 

“The community dug into their pockets to enable these woods to be saved. They consider them to be part of the community and that community needs to be meaningfully engaged.

“Its obvious from the response that the local community who paid from their pockets are not happy with decisions being taken far away.

“I think a rethink and meaningful engagement with the local community is needed.

“I pointed out that we as a council consult before we do anything and that they should do so as well.

“The trust said that they had done so two years ago with not much response. I made the point that they need to engage the community more, that they should clean up the brash and that the cut wood should be removed, but said it was too expensive.” 

The Woodland Trust is taking a long-term view of up to 50 years on the woodland and believe the work being carried out will be worthwhile.

A statement read: “We would like to reassure anyone concerned about our woodland restoration work at Pen y Coed woods, that it is all for the long term benefit of the wood and its wildlife.

“Felling healthy trees may seem strange but conifer plantations are dense and dark, and removing trees enables more light to reach the forest floor to encourage a greater variety of native plants and trees to grow.

“It is a process that doesn’t happen overnight and, to minimise the impact onsite, this process must happen over the course of many years.

“Timber extraction is at present impracticable due to the physical constraints of management access routes to the site, and creating new routes would itself be very damaging to the woodland.

“A predominantly native canopy should be achieved within 20-30 years with restoration or conversion complete and almost all conifers removed within 50 years.”

See full story in the Free Press

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