The Forest Drive road has closed but Cwmcarn forest and its facilities, including the Visitor Centre, footpaths and mountain bike trails, remain open.
The Drive road closed on 2 November 2014 to allow us to undertake a large scale felling operation. This is because 78% of the trees along the drive are larch trees infected by a fungal disease called Phytophthora ramorum, (larch disease).
This action is part of a nationwide strategy to reduce the risk of the disease spreading further. More than 2 million larch trees on the Welsh Government woodland estate have so far been felled.
Whilst the Forest Drive road itself has closed, all other facilities at Cwmcarn forest remain open.
We cannot stop the spread of larch disease but we can take action to slow it down. This includes taking the difficult decision to close our seven-mile Forest Drive road and fell over 160,000 infected trees.
Whilst we are saddened to have to fell so many infected larch trees, it does provide us with an opportunity to replace them with native broad-leaf woodland trees as well as more marketable timber varieties.
This video explains how larch disease has affected Cwmcarn forest and why we have to close the Forest Drive road.
The Visitor Centre, run by Caerphilly County Borough Council, will be open as usual and continue to sell walking guides, maps and information on the surrounding area.
There is also a fishing lake, a play area for under sevens, a gift shop featuring a great selection of locally produced crafts and Welsh goods, Raven’s Cafe which provides a wide range of food and drinks and camping pods.
To date, we have removed approximately 30% of the infected Larch from the southern side of the forest. We are now preparing to move our operations to the northern side to remove the remaining infected trees. We anticipate that this work will continue until 2020.
We are now also starting to replant areas of the forest which have been felled, and over the coming months will be planting approximately 170,000 new young trees across 80 hectares.
During the first stage of our felling, we have done everything we can to make sure there are always parts of the forest for people to enjoy. This is the first time we have managed a harvesting operation of this size on a site which remains open to the public. So far we have successfully avoided any permanent closures of bike trails or footpaths.
We will continue to keep you informed of any planned trail closures or diversions as early as possible. Updates will also be given through our social media channels and the Visitor Centre.
We’d like to thank visitors for their cooperation to date as we undertake this important operation. Remember that harvesting sites are extremely dangerous, so please continue to adhere to our signs for your own safety.
We have updated our Frequently Asked Questions.
Whilst it is long, it addresses most of the questions we’ve received in more detail than our general briefing note.
We will be revising this document regularly. If you have any questions you feel are not answered here or would like to give us feedback on our communications, contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or 0300 065 3000 (Mon-Fri, 8am - 6pm).
We will collate your questions and publish our responses on our website.