Tree replanting underway at Bont Evans

Almost 12,000 native trees have now been planted above a busy mid Wales road by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) as part of the Bont Evans Tree Works and Stabilisation project (BETWS).

This follows a major tree felling project in 2019 which saw the removal of large, unstable conifers from a steep bank above the A487, north of Machynlleth.

Many of the conifers - at 40 metres tall and weighing 12 tonnes - posed a high risk to people, cars, buildings and roads underneath.

Over the next two years, the conifers will be replaced by native broad leaf species - including wild cherry, sessile oak, hawthorn, rowan and downy birch.

When the project is complete, 35,000 trees will have been planted on the site which will become a haven for insects, birds and small mammals such as dormice, linking up with other wildlife habitats in the Dulas valley.

Jared Gethin, Project Manager for Natural Resources Wales (NRW) said:

“By planting smaller, slower-growing broadleaf trees on the flatter areas of site we are restoring this area to ancient woodland whilst also reducing the risk of the same problem happening again.
“During the felling, native trees and shrubs were kept in place wherever possible and invasive shrubs, such as rhododendron, were removed to give this new woodland the best possible start.”

Simon Quincey, Deputy Chair of Corris Community Council said:

“Corris Community Council have been much impressed by the execution of the Bont Evans Tree Works and Stabilisation work, the clearing of the large conifers above Evans Bridge.
“The contract has been completed with far less than the expected impact on the community and traffic. The weather was not the most encouraging, yet the project was delivered within the anticipated timeframe and with minimal mess.
“Most significant of all is that there was not a single complaint registered with this council.
“This council looks forward to the replanting programme being completed with the reinstatement of local species. We anticipate a professional and environmentally sound conclusion to the works.
“Our compliments to the staff in delivering this most satisfactory outcome.”

While no replanting will take place on the steepest sections of embankment, heather and bilberry will be free to grow.

Deadwood and loose stumps, vital for insects and fungi, have been kept on parts of the site.

The felled timber has been sold to merchants and will be used to supply the construction, agricultural and woodfuel industries.

This produced around £500,000 worth of timber, which will be reinvested into the Welsh Government’s Woodland Estate.