Forestry operations at Savernake Forest

Earlier in the summer, I wrote to you all to let you know of the work that was about to happen on the A346.  As I am sure you are aware, this work never started. This was due to the contractor being delayed at another site. I thank you for your patience whist we have been trying to reschedule works. I met with the contractor yesterday and things are now in place for them to begin work on Tuesday 29th August 2023.

As per my last email, traffic along the A346 will be managed by a single land closure with two-way traffic signals operating 9.30am – 4pm Monday-Friday between postern hill and Leigh hill. There may be occasions when traffic lights are double red for a short time to allow safe working. Road users should expect delays on the A346 during operating hours.

All ash trees showing more than 50% crown dieback within a tree length of the public highway will be felled or otherwise made safe e.g. pollarded and left standing. At the same time, we are removing some additional trees because they are growing close to veteran trees. This ‘haloing’ gives the veterans more light and space to remain healthy. The understorey of smaller trees and shrubs within five metres of the road will be coppiced to improve visibility along the road.

Felling trees is an important part of sustainable forest management and well managed forests support more wildlife. Before we start any forestry work, we carry out thorough ecological surveys to check for species such as birds, mammals, rodents, invertebrates, flora, and fungi. We consider our findings against complex factors including tree health, how the ground slopes, soil condition, and likely rainfall when planning forestry work. Where it is safe, we will leave some standing dead trees to provide insect habitat and perches for birds, and we will leave as much dead wood on site as possible to support Savernake’s important dead wood habitat. Our forestry team will keep all machinery at least five metres away from all veteran trees. While working, we continue to check for wildlife and adapt, pause or suspend work if necessary.

There is more information about this work on our website.

Nikki Morgans

Area Forester
Bristol and Savernake
Forestry England