Norfolk County Council will be carrying out tree works along the Marriott’s Way, which will involve a path closure in the Whitwell area.
The Council said the work is essential to manage the spread of, and decline of condition caused by, Chalara ash dieback: the work will manage the impact the disease may have on the health and safety of the public.
For the safety of users, sections of the Marriott’s Way will be closed between 30 January and 17 February while the work is being carried out. However, should the works be completed before this time, the path will be reopened.
The path will be closed in the Whitwell area between Heath Lane and Whitwell Road and a temporary diversion will be in place during the works. Tree works in other areas, where path closures are not required, may continue until March.
This positive management of the Marriott’s Way follows the announcement that the route has been successful in receiving funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to:
- find out more about the heritage of the route of the Marriott’s Way as a railway and green corridor;
- conserve its surviving railway infrastructure and recreate some of what has been lost;
- increase the variety of plants and wildlife that can be seen. The Chalara work will assist with enabling this to happen by clearing dangerous and declining trees, diversifying the woodland, creating better conditions for ground flora and to allow either replanting or natural succession to occur, increasing the biodiversity on the route;
- create new circular and spur routes off the main trail;
- run an education programme for schools and other groups for young people;
- let people know more about the heritage of the route through new interpretation and a programme of events.
The spread of Chalara ash dieback has led to health and safety concerns, where diseased ash trees may fall or collapse and cause injury or property damage, which has prompted this work.
The Norfolk County Council Arboriculture Team has surveyed and identified the trees that pose a risk to health and safety, and it is with these trees that work will be undertaken.
The Council is leading this work nationally and the learning gained on the Marriott’s Way will help with route management elsewhere in Norfolk and the rest of the country. The Council is also supporting research into the genetic traits that influence resistance to Chalara.
Chalara ash dieback
Chalara dieback of ash is a disease of ash trees caused by the fungus Hymenoscyphus fraxineus. The first signs of Chalara in the UK were spotted in 2012 in a nursery in Buckinghamshire. Since then it has spread, and infected trees have been found throughout East Anglia.
The disease causes leaf loss, crown dieback and bark lesions, and is often fatal once a tree is infected. The full extent of the damage the disease may have in Britain is not yet known, and hopes rest on identifying genetic factors that enable disease resistance.
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