Owners say tree felling at ancient woodland is 'in interest of safety and preservation '

These pictures of felled trees in an ancient woodland might look dramatic - but the owners of Ridgehill Wood at Wordsley have said the work carried out was purely "in the interest of safety and preservation".

Tree felling is taking place at Ridgehill Woods, Wordsley
Tree felling is taking place at Ridgehill Woods, Wordsley

Campaigners seeking to protect the ancient woodland were concerned that the felling work might see the site under threat of development for housing but the owners today reassured people about its future by announcing it would allow new public rights of way to be agreed.

Kate Henderson, marketing manager of Clowes Developments UK Limited, which has owned the site for three years, said that "it was not, and never had been, the intention of the company to carry out development" and that it had a long-term management plan for the woodland.

She said: "We can confirm all works being carried out are in full compliance with the Felling License and have the full support of not only the Forestry Commission but also the senior arboricultural officer at South Staffordshire Council.

"The company has a responsibility to address the concerns of neighbouring residents and others about dead and dying trees that posed risks to property.

Tree felling is taking place at Ridgehill Woods, Wordsley

"We appreciate that felling can look severe, especially in the photographs we have received over the course of the last few days.

"However, this is more an indication of the state of the woodland before we took ownership as trees have been allowed to grow too close together and without proper maintenance.

"During severe weather especially, the woodland and its trees pose a potential hazard to members of the public, neighbouring residents, and their properties.

"While the remedial works undeniably look dramatic, we are acting now, over a short period of time and at our own expense, to correct decades of mismanagement that preceded our ownership.

"Evidence of rot and other disease is not immediately obvious, but our chosen firm of Chartered Foresters, Bronwin and Abbey, survey the woodland in its entirety on a frequent basis and we abide by their recommendations, which are also approved by South Staffordshire Council and the Forestry Commission.

Tree felling is taking place at Ridgehill Woods, Wordsley

"We have carried out an extensive programme of replanting trees that have been felled so that we can properly manage their growth for the future and would stress there is no commercial gain to be had from any of the felling that has taken place.

"We have received notice from the Council that local group, the Friends of Ridgehill Wood, wish to establish new public rights of way across the woodland.

"It is our intention to allow these rights to be established to give further comfort to people who are concerned about the future of this ancient woodland.

"These rights will be implemented in such a way as to allow us to still carry out vital maintenance while still allowing people to frequent the woodland as they always have."

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