Do you bit and don't transport mucky bikes or kit around the country

Phytophthora Ramorum affects larch and has been largely confined to the Galloway region. Unfortunately the disease appears to be spreading.

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Forest Enterprise Scotland is undertaking felling operations around Ae, Dumfries and Ayrshire in order to slow the spread of a tree disease.

Regulations to control the spread require all the infected trees to be removed and also the un-infected trees surrounding them as this stops the production and transmission of spores.

Significant areas around Ae Forest, Clauchrie Forest and Mabie Forest will be cleared of larch to reduce the spread of the disease.

Alan Gale, Forest Enterprise Scotland’s tree health manager said: “We’d like to make the public aware that over the next few months they will see additional felling in areas affected by this disease. Unfortunately there’s no alternative to felling if we are to try and reduce the spread of this tree disease.

“The forests affected are popular with visitors and unfortunately this will mean that temporary diversions on walking and biking routes are likely. We’d like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding whilst the felling is being carried out.

“I would urge the public to join us in our “Keep it Clean” campaign, which asks that before arriving at any forest, visitors clean their boots and bikes, any kit they’re bringing and even pets paws if dog walking.

“This disease can travel from one forest to another in mud and forest debris so it is important to clean it off before visiting woodlands.”

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Mountain bikers of a certain age will remember the Foot & Mouth epidemic in 2001 that saw similar advice and practices put into place.

Although the forest landscape will change, Forest Enterprise Scotland will take this opportunity to redesign the forests for the better. The trees being felled will be replaced over time and the timber can still be used and will supply key markets as normal.