Express & Star

Ancient woods in Dudley could take 20 years to recover from tree plague

An ancient woodland hit by a deadly disease affecting trees could take 20 years to get back to its former glory, says the man in charge of the restoration project.

Friends of Alder Coppice restoring the 500-year-old woodland: Lynn Williams, Simon Biggs and Bob Griffiths

Alder Coppice, in the Sedgley area of Dudley, reopened this month following a month-long operation to chop down 32 trees infected with ash dieback disease, and to cut back 10 more.

But the work has left the woodland, which dates back more than 500 years, in need of massive restoration work, turning the ancient wildlife habitats into a muddy quagmire, and having destroyed the woodland paths.

Simon Biggs, chairman of the Friends of Alder Coppice, said volunteers had already begun work replacing the paths through the nature reserve, but it would be a long process.

Mr Biggs said many of the trees lost during the work were between 100 and 200 years old.

"I think it will be 20 years before it starts to look anywhere like it was," said Mr Biggs, a retired biology teacher.

"Nature will do most of the work for us, but it will take some time.

"It will never be the same as it was, or certainly not in my lifetime."