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The Forestry Commission is alerting road users that the B5292 through Whinlatter Forest in Cumbria will be closed on weekdays during tree felling operations in January.
Starting on Monday 5 January, the road will be closed between Noble Knott and Revelin Moss car parks on weekdays for up to 19 days, and traffic will be diverted via the A66, Cockermouth and the Lorton valley. Revelin Moss car park and trails will remain open
The road will, however, reopen during weekends between about 6pm on Fridays and about 11pm on Sundays.
Bikers, walkers and riders should follow the diversion along forest roads and paths to the north of the B5292, signposted between Whinlatter Visitor Centre and Noble Knott car park. Access to Noble Knott car park and viewpoint will be available from the Keswick side of the pass while the road is closed.
Masmill car park and the Quercus mountain bike trail will be closed until about Easter because the harvesting work will continue along the Quercus trail and will use Masmill car park for timber stacking. However, the Altura South and North mountain bike trails will not be affected.
Elsewhere, Siskins Café at Whinlatter is closed for maintenance, but will fully reopen from Saturday 24 January. Cyclewise and the Rheged @ Whinlatter shop are open every day.
Gareth Browning, Area Forester, said:
“After discussions with our on-site businesses and neighbours, we decided to do the work in January because this is the quietest time of the year. We are bringing in four modern harvesting machines to carry out the work as quickly as we can to minimise disruption, but we do recognise that the road closure will cause some inconvenience, and we apologise for that.
“After we have completed the felling we will replant mostly with conifer trees of species which do not get ramorum disease. We’ll also include some trees of species such as beech, red oak, Norway maple and red cedar that will give great autumn colours to ensure that Whinlatter will continue to be a great place to come throughout the year.”
It is hoped that the felling will help to prevent the larch trees around the visitor centre from becoming infected with ramorum disease, caused by a fungus-like organism called Phytophthora ramorum. Adrian Jones, Whinlatter Forest Centre manager, explained,
“Some of the larch trees on the eastern side of Whinlatter have already been infected by ramorum disease and have had to be felled. Our visitor centre sits within an area of larch trees, which also provide the main supports for our Go Ape high ropes course. We are concerned that these trees could also become infected with the disease if we do not take action to prevent it spreading into the area.”
More information is available from the Whinlatter Visitor Information Point, open at weekends until 1 February and daily thereafter, and from www.forestry.gov.uk/whinlatter.
Notes to Editor
- Forestry Commission England works to secure and grow the economic, social and environmental benefits of public forest land for the people of England. Its North England Forest District team looks after public forests in Cumbria, Lancashire, Northumbria, Tyne & Wear and County Durham.
- Phytophthora ramorum is a destructive, fungus-like pathogen which can kill a wide range of trees and plants, including rhododendron, larch, several popular garden plants, the ecologically important bilberry, and several economically important horticultural species. The only means available to control it is to destroy infected plants which spread the disease before they can produce infective spores: infected larch trees, and Rhododendron ponticum, which is found in many woodlands, produce particularly high quantities of spores. For more information see www.forestry.gov.uk/pramorum
Media contact: Tim Oliver, Head of Recreation and Public Affairs, North Forest District, 01229 862005