Forestry Commission officers have confirmed that the felling of trees near Core Hill Car Park will continue until the end of the month.

Despite a series of exchanges via email, I have been unable to convince officers to delay the work until August, which would avoid the nesting season completely.

Following my request on Sunday evening (2 February) that the felling is delayed until August, the commission’s local forestry officer made the following points:

  • It is a thinning operation rather than a clear fell
  • One in every seven trees are being felled, focusing on the less dominant trees so the canopy remains
  • The trees being felled are beech and scots pine
  • It was planned for late summer 2019 but the ground was too wet – it has only just become dry enough to begin felling
  • It is part of a sequence of felling that takes place on a rolling basis on East Hill
  • Wildlife and wildflowers such as bluebells thrive better in thinned woodlands
  • Efforts are generally made to avoid the nesting season and the work should be finished by the end of this month

It’s still in my opinion a bad time of the year to be doing this work, but my mind is more at rest than it was when I first saw the signs and thought the entire woodland was being lost, which would have been terrible.

East Hill is in my Devon County Council ward so I will be meeting with the forester and his colleague on Tuesday (11 February) to understand more about how the woodland is managed and how the wildlife is taken into account in the work of the Forestry Commission at East Hill.