Path closures at Hardcastle Crags this November

28th October 2021 News

The closures will allow tree felling to take place between Midgehole Car Park and Gibson Mill.

Parts of the main track and other paths will be closed for ten days at Hardcastle Crags to allow contractors to remove trees safely. The work, which is part of the National Trust’s ten year woodland management plan, will see closures in place from the 8th – 12th and the 15th – 19th of November. The closures are to ensure public safety.

Around 70 ash trees that are suffering from ash dieback will also be removed this winter.

National Trust countryside manager, Rosie Holdsworth, said, “It’s devastating to see so many of our ash trees suffering as a result of ash dieback. The trees become very brittle and hollow, so we are removing those that are close to paths and the main track to ensure public safety.”

“We’re also continuing our woodland management plan, which will help improve our woodland’s resilience to future disease and climate change. We understand that some people have concerns about felling trees, but our work has been carefully researched to ensure we deliver the best possible outcome for nature, climate resilience and reducing tree disease. The woodland management plan has been approved by the Forestry Commission and Calderdale Council.”

The woodland management plan focuses on slowing the flow of water, restoring habitats for nature and improving the woodlands resilience to climate change. The work involves removing selective trees to increase the light that reaches the woodland floor, meaning better conditions for smaller plants to grow, including bluebells. Piles of sticks and leaves will be left on the woodland floor to create a home for insects and birds. These also help to slow the flow of water during heavy rainfall and minimise flood risk to downstream communities like Hebden Bridge.

Some of the trees that are felled will also be used to build leaky dams with the National Trust’s partners Slow The Flow, a natural flood management charity. This work helps reduce flood risk to the valleys below by allowing the water to soak into the ground, rather than running straight into the rivers and streams.

As part of the work, 4,000 new trees will be planted at Hardcastle Crags. These are native species which are better suited to the steep valley sides of the woodland, including rowan, oak, birch, hawthorn and blackthorn.

The main track will be closed to pedestrians and vehicles from 8th – 12th November and 15th – 19th November 9am – 4.30pm. A footpath diversion will also be in place during this time, although the diversions are steep, narrow and uneven. The riverside (Mill Walk) will also have a diversion in place, again, over steep and narrow parts. The route from Clough Hole Car Park to Gibson Mill is unaffected.

Rosie Holdsworth continues, “We understand how frustrating it is for visitors who won’t be able to access all of the woodlands at this time. However public safety is paramount, and we want to ensure that the work can be carried out with minimal risk for our visitors. We would recommend parking at Clough Hole car park where possible or visiting us at a weekend when no closures will be in place. This work is taking place in one of our quietest times of year, before we get ready to welcome visitors back for the run up to Christmas.”

For more details about the work, please contact; hardcastlecrags@nationaltrust.org.uk

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