Axe set for moorland conifer tree plantation

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A conifer plantation in one of the most popular areas of the Peak District is set to be felled as part of a conservation initiative.

The 83-acre Burbage plantation, owned by Sheffield Council, was originally planted in the Burbage Valley in the early 1970s.

But the plantation now needs to be removed as it has reached maturity – and trees are beginning to blow over.

Ted Talbot, woodland manager for the council, said: “Work on removing the trees is being scheduled to start at the beginning of September and, weather permitting, should be completed by Christmas.

“Some of the site will then be restored to moorland, while the rest of the area will be replanted with native oak and birch woodland, benefiting a range of wildlife.”

The project is funded through the Dark Peak Nature Improvement Area, a large-scale conservation initiative which was created to improve, expand and link up existing wildlife-rich areas.

Ross Frazer, project manager for the Dark Peak Nature Improvement Area, said: “The Burbage plantation was never meant to be a permanent fixture.

“Once the site has been cleared it will look much as it did 40 years ago, but in another 20 to 30 years there will eventually be a native woodland much like Padley Gorge.

“As Burbage Valley is such a popular attraction, we have scheduled the removal to take place after the summer holidays and will only be working on weekdays to minimise disturbance.”

■ Mr Frazer will be in the top car park at Burbage Bridge, to explain how work will be carried out, this Friday; Wednesday, July 24; Saturday and Sunday August 10 and 11; and Tuesday, August 27, between 10am and 3pm each day.