We are cutting down diseased Japanese larch trees at Rough Standhills Plantation. The trees were planted as a timber crop in the 1950s and were intended to be felled once they reached maturity. However, The Forestry Commission have issued us with a statutory notice to remove these trees now and are supporting this work.

The trees have been affected by Ramorum disease of larch. It is caused by Phytophthora ramorum which is a fungus-like organism that attacks shrubs and trees and spreads rapidly. Phytophthora ramorum is not dangerous to humans or animals.

When the work will take place

The work is scheduled to start in October 2021 and to be completed by December 2021, depending on weather and ground conditions. We need to compete the works quickly to meet statutory requirements to try to slow the spread of the disease. The areas we clear will be restored back to a native broadleaved woodland during Winter 2022.

Which trees we're removing

We'll be cutting down all the Japanese larch and some other trees, such as the Corsican pine, that would be left unsafe. We'll be leaving a ‘buffer strip’ around the edge of the woodland. This will reduce the visual impact of the works and maintain wildlife corridors in the area.

Before we start any large scale forestry operation we consult with ecologists and archaeologists and other interested groups, such as South Yorkshire Badger Group, make sure sensitive areas are identified and protected.

Tree felling plan and what we're going to do with felled trees

The trees will be removed from area A on the plan and sent to licensed sawmills that comply with plant health regulations. Affected trees will be processed into usable timber products for construction and joinery work. Bark and branches will remain on the woodland floor to decompose and help protect the ground during the works.

Trees in area B on the steep slopes to the north of Limb Brook will be felled by hand in December to February 2022 and left on the ground to decompose naturally. This removes the risk of the disease spreading as the trees will no longer be producing needles from which spores and fungus spread.

Plan showing where tree felling in Rough Standhills will take place.
Plan of Rough Standhills larch felling.

Public access

There will be temporary closures and diversions to the Public Rights of Way as required for the public’s safety. Notices and signs will be in place to give advice on which areas will be closed. Please respect these signs and stay out of closed areas. Once works are completed we'll protect some of the newly planted trees with temporary fences and restricted access. This will allow the young trees to get established and for the woodland habitat to restore.

What we're doing to replace the trees

We're replacing the diseased trees with native trees such as oak and birch. This will restore the area to a native woodland landscape while slowing the spread of the disease. The new mix of native woodland trees will provide greater resilience to climate change and future pests and diseases. Trees that are felled and left to decompose will help insects and animals.

What you can do

We encourage community groups and individuals to get involved with the restoration of the woodland. This will include organised events such as collecting tree seed, growing young trees and planting trees. We will share details of these events closer to the time. You can also get involved with the Friends of Whirlow Brook Park group.

After the work is completed we will continue to work with Friends groups and other interested groups, supporting them to get involved with the management of the woodland through organised events such as volunteer days. We encourage you to join us at these events and take part in the long-term management of the woodlands.

The spread of Ramorum disease of larch

In Sheffield, the disease was first reported in the plantations at Redmires in 2020. It spreads several miles at a time in low cloud, mists, rain, rain splash and along water courses. Ramorum disease can also be spread unintentionally on footwear, tools and dog’s paws. It’s inevitable that the disease will spread to other areas of the city from west to east. We recommend you clean your footwear to remove any mud or debris before leaving a site a forestry site.

Contact Parks and Countryside Service

Supporting information