Fforest Fawr, Cardiff, infected larch trees to be felled

Image caption,
Many of the wooden sculptures on the trail at Fforest Fawr will also be replaced next year

Thousands of infected larch trees are to be felled at a popular forest site in south Wales.

Preparatory work will begin next month at Fforest Fawr in Tongwynlais, Cardiff, with 4,000 trees to be removed from September next year, for three years.

Environment body Natural Resources Wales (NRW) said initial work would include pruning and preparing trees.

But it said access to the site would not be restricted.

NRW said the work was part of a nationwide strategy to combat the disease, which has affected about 6.7 million larch trees across Wales.

Image source, Gj/Geograph
Image caption,
NRW said it would monitor the forest after the felling to see if replanting is needed

Gareth Roberts, of NRW, said it would do everything it could to minimise disruption to the "well loved" community area.

"Although it is some time off, we are already planning the harvesting in two phases, so we can always keep areas of the forest open for people to use, and so we can minimise the impact on protected species and the local wildlife," he said.

"It is upsetting that we have to remove the trees but we know the forest will still be a wonderful place for people to visit in the future.

"We will continue to work with local businesses and interest groups to keep them up to date as our plans progress and during the harvesting work."

Once harvesting begins in September 2018, work is expected to continue to 2021.

After the trees have been felled, NRW said it would encourage native species, including beech, oak, birch, wild cherry, rowan and hazel in the forest to naturally regenerate.

It added it would then monitor the forest for a few years before considering replanting any trees.

Some of the wooden sculptures on the trail, which are popular with children, will also be removed as many are rotten, but they will be replaced early next year.

Image source, John Light/Geograph
Image caption,
The paths are popular with walkers and mountain bikers

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