Peak Park rangers having to fell trees hit by killer disease

Peak District National Trust rangers are tackling widespread ash dieback as 2020 proved a perfect storm for spreading the killer tree disease.
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Rangers have identified several areas, especially in the ash-dominated White Peak around Ilam and Dovedale, that are severely impacted.

National Trust tree expert Luke Barley said: “Ash dieback is a catastrophe for nature.

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“Our landscapes and woodlands are irrevocably changing before our eyes and last year’s combination of a dry spring and late frost may have dramatically sped up the spread and severity of the disease.”

A National Trust ranger carrying out tree safety workA National Trust ranger carrying out tree safety work
A National Trust ranger carrying out tree safety work

Trees shedding limbs near roads and paths are a potential danger to people and vehicles and those that fall in ravines can damage other trees, so rangers are removing them.

Ted Talbot, countryside manager for the National Trust in the Peak District, said: “It is very important that the public take note of the signage that local councils and the National Trust have put up and follow the directions provided.

"We have also updated our website with details of where the work is taking place and which paths and roads are affected.

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"We’d advise everyone to check our website before leaving home so they can plan their route by foot or by car accordingly.”

Ted continued: “The scale of the dieback in many areas of the Peaks is so big that we need to fell and remove trees from roadsides.

"In other places we will leave timber on site and this will soon provide good homes for things like bats and fungi.”

Lovers of the Peak District can support the urgent native tree planting programme, by donating to the National Trust’s Woods of the Future Peak District Appeal. Go to

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Check for details of areas that are closed when work is taking place.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor