Easter reminder to take care when out and about in Northumberland woodland areas

An example of the damaged caused by Storm Arwen in Northumberland. Picture by Alan Hughes.An example of the damaged caused by Storm Arwen in Northumberland. Picture by Alan Hughes.
An example of the damaged caused by Storm Arwen in Northumberland. Picture by Alan Hughes.
Northumberland residents are being reminded to take extra care when out and about over the Easter holidays as some wooded areas of the county still pose dangers after the winter storms.

The severe weather, particularly during Storm Arwen, brought down thousands of trees and weakened many others – leaving some woodlands, beauty spots, parks and local nature reserves in a potentially dangerous condition.

And while Northumberland County Council teams and other organisations have been busy since the storms carrying out safety checks and clearing dangerous and fallen trees to make them safe for the public, some areas of the county still pose risks.

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Particularly badly hit were the county’s forests and woodlands, including Kielder Water and Forest Park where Forestry England crews alongside many contractors have been making the area safe for some time.

Some of the other popular forest sites, such as Simonside, Holystone and Thrunton Woods, are still closed to the public due to the sheer scale of the damage caused.

Coun John Riddle, the council’s cabinet member for local services, said: “The devastation caused by the winter storms, particularly Storm Arwen, was always going to take a long time to resolve.

“Easter time and the school holidays is always a popular time to get out and about, but we’d remind everyone they must still take care and be aware of the areas still closed.

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“There are still very real dangers presented by damaged or fallen trees, and some areas have heavy machinery moving around where teams are clearing sites.

“We’d continue to ask people to check relevant websites before they travel, including weather forecasts, and not to enter any areas that are closed.

“There are still lots of places to visit in our wonderful county without putting themselves or others at risk, including all of the council’s country parks sites which are open to the public to enjoy.”

Anyone who encounters any dangerous trees or obstructions when walking, cycling or riding on the county’s 3,000 miles of Public Rights of Way can report these issues to the council via https://nland.uk/RoW

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Margaret Anderson, senior ranger at Northumberland National Park Authority, said: “We’re continuing to work with partners to make areas impacted by storm damage safe and accessible, and strongly advise the public to check the status of the area they plan to visit – via Forestry England’s or Northumberland National Park’s website and social media channels – before visiting.

“Given the extensive path network and challenging conditions in remote areas, the safety of staff and visitors is our main priority.

“We ask that people visiting over the Easter break to please respect the areas that are inaccessible and do not try and access areas that are closed. It will help the safety of you and others around you and reduce the pressure on emergency services.

“Northumberland National Park has many fully accessible places where families and individuals can enjoy, including The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre and Walltown Country Park along the Hadrian’s Wall corridor, and walking routes in the Cheviots, Coquetdale, and North Tyne and Redesdale.”