Please see below communication received from Worcestershire Wildlife Trust:
I am a Reserve Officer for Worcestershire Wildlife Trust and, out of courtesy, just wanted to let you know about some work we have planned in your area. We own and manage Piper’s Hill Common SSSI (also known as Dodderhill Common and Hanbury Woods), which you may well be familiar with as the B4091 runs straight through it. If not, it is a 15.5ha site which is a former wood pasture and has over 200 veteran trees.
You may well know that ash dieback has arrived in Worcestershire and it is already having a noticeable effect on some of our county’s trees. As land managers we are taking it very seriously but we are assessing it on a case by case basis and don’t intend to clear-fell areas of ash trees because we’re hoping to identify disease-resistant individuals. However, we have a significant number of ash trees along the roadside at Piper’s Hill and these pose a health and safety risk to drivers travelling past the nature reserve on this busy road; ash dieback can cause trees to suddenly lose limbs or to fall over. Consequently, this winter we are planning on removing the ash alongside both sides of the road in a strip that’s about 15m wide (ie within falling distance of the road). We understand the shock that visitors and passers-by will have when they see such a familiar area change quite quickly but we won’t be removing every tree, just the ash and any other that are leaning hazardously into the road. Our priority here is the safety of road-users but we’re also relieved that, whilst we’re losing some of our ash trees, part of the by-product of this work will benefit the trees that are left behind, particularly the older ones. As we are working, we will also be taking the opportunity to clear some space around some of these veteran trees, which will help to increase their longevity.