Ash Dieback on the Monsal Trail

Deadly tree disease threatens the Peak District

The Monsal Trail, much of which is classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, has many accessible, family-friendly routes and is one of the busiest areas of the Park, often seeing more than 2,000 visitors on a Summer’s day.

But the area is being threatened by Ash Dieback Disease, the most significant tree disease to affect the UK since Dutch Elm Disease.  Evidence suggests that it will only take about 10-15 years to see the decline and death of 90% of Ash trees in Britain.  Ash Dieback is caused by a fungus which is airborne and spreads quickly, affecting the tress from the top down.  The diseases weakens the trees’ structure, making them prone to uprooting and therefore unsafe.

Sadly, there are already signs of the disease in Ash trees along the ever-popular Monsal Trail.  Many of the woodlands in the White Peak are made up of around 80% Ash trees and current estimates are 6 out of 7 Ash trees will die as a result of this disease.  Ash dieback is being exacerbated by a changing climate;  Spring 2020 was one of the warmest and direst on record which has left trees more susceptible to disease.

This disease will result in the tragic loss of trees and is devastating for habitats and wildlife.  We need to act now to ensure the landscape and habitats along the trail thrive into the future.

We will remove the diseased trees to prevent spread, plant alternative native tree species, restore woodland areas and ensure the network of paths and trails remain safe and accessible for the public.

The works will cost around £50,000 per year for the next 4 years.

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