Our woodlands are in danger. All over Wiltshire, the fungal disease ash dieback has taken hold.

We need your help to save our woodlands from ash dieback disease

While the name doesn’t sound too alarming, this deadly disease will lead to the decline and then probable death of every ash tree, and there are over 80 million Ash trees in the UK. 

The first signs of the disease are often on the leaves; then the fungus travels down the twigs into the branches, eventually infecting the heartwood. Initially, it causes the foliage to ‘die back’, but pretty soon the tree itself weakens. Afflicted trees also become susceptible to other pests and diseases, and can unexpectedly start to shed limbs, posing a danger to people and animals passing below.

What’s happening here in Wiltshire?
We’re devastated by the rapid onset of the disease. It has spread faster and further than anyone predicted. Across the county, we are already seeing trees dying. Like Dutch Elm Disease in the 1970s, which killed millions of elms, ash dieback will leave our landscape profoundly altered.

Ash is one of the most common species of trees found in the UK and is often found in hedgerows, parks, and gardens. As well as being a dominant feature of the landscape, ash trees are home to a myriad of different animals such as insects, bats, and birds. We estimate that 60% of trees across our reserves are ash.

Can you help us respond to this emergency with a donation?

This disease has spread at an alarming rate, and action is required now.

The Trust is facing an unexpected cost of at least £20,000 - just to deal with the immediate threats posed by diseased trees along footpaths, roads, and bridleways.

What we will spend the money on:

Initially, we need to train staff and volunteers to carry out tree surveying across our reserves and if it is safe to do so, we will leave dead trees as homes for wildlife, but according to Forestry Commission guidance, once the signs of the disease have reached the crown of a tree it must be removed.

The cost of professional tree removal varies, but this can exceed thousands of pounds per tree, depending on the position of the tree and the labour and equipment needed to remove it. Critically as well as this we will need to hire safety equipment and potentially close roads while the work is undertaken.
In the meantime, we are planning a re-planting scheme, which will be using your kind donations to purchase and plant a range of different tree species across our reserves to replace the dead ash, improve resilience, repair the damage done to the biodiversity of the landscape, and provide replacement homes for wildlife.
This will require additional funding and support through volunteering. 

This is an urgent appeal, Please help us today to protect Wiltshire's woodlands.

If you would like to help us as a volunteer:
Report signs of Ash Dieback on our reserves or join a volunteer tree survey group by contacting us at: [email protected] or 01380 736092.