Coed Moel Famau car park temporarily closed to allow safe felling of diseased larch trees

The main Coed Moel Famau car park will close for approximately two weeks from 7 February to allow trees infected with Phytophthora ramorum, commonly known as larch disease, to be safely cut down.

The car park will reopen at weekends and for school half term. Other site car parks, including Bwlch Pen Barras, remains open for alternative parking.

Tree felling to remove infected trees is expected to continue in the forest until the end of March. To keep people safe, there will also be trail closures, which will be clearly sign-posted, and diversions will be in place and access limited throughout the felling operations.

The trees are infected with Phytophthora ramorum, commonly known as larch disease. They cover around 26 hectares - or the size of 30 football pitches.

After the work, NRW will replant forest areas with alternative trees for timber production. Areas surrounding the car park, road and trails will be planted with a mix of broadleaf species to help wildlife and enhance the environment for everyone’s enjoyment.

Aidan Cooke, Senior Officer Forest Operation for NRW, said:

“Visitor safety is our main priority, and this leaves us with no other option but to close the forest car park to be completely satisfied that felling can take place safely.
“It is imperative that the felling work gets underway to help slow the spread of the disease and we are doing all we can to minimise the impact this will have on the rest of the forest and on visitors to the site.
“We urge visitors to adhere to the trail closures and diversions for their own safety. This will be a live operational site that could be dangerous if signs are ignored.”

Although diseased, the larch trees are a viable crop. The 4500 tonnes of trees removed will go to sawmills to be used for house building material, fencing and wood fuel.

Cllr Tony Thomas, Denbighshire County Council’s Lead Member for Housing and Communities, and Chair of the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB Joint Committee, said:

“It is very unfortunate that larch disease has been identified at Moel Famau.
“This is a major, but essential, operation and the Council and the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB will be working very closely with NRW to minimise the impact of the disruption to this popular beauty spot.
“We want to thank residents and visitors for their understanding during this time.
“We will also be supporting a replanting scheme to reduce the impact going forward.”

In 2013, surveys identified that larch disease was spreading rapidly across forestry in Wales, sparking a nationwide strategy to remove diseased trees to slow the spread.