Thrunton Wood remains closed, warns Forestry England, after father and daughter rescued

Forestry England has urged the public to stay clear of Thrunton Wood due to safety concerns following storm damage.
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The plea comes after a father and daughter became lost in the 1,133 hectare (2,800 acre) wood between Rothbury and Alnwick last weekend.

That resulted in a call to the police and the deployment of Northumberland National Park and North of Tyne mountain rescue teams to lead them to safety.

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Forest rangers say this is the fourth incident in recent weeks where people have entered areas of woodland which are currently off limits due to storm recovery work.

Alex Maclennan of Forestry England.Alex Maclennan of Forestry England.
Alex Maclennan of Forestry England.

Storm Arwen damaged or destroyed 12 per cent of Thrunton’s trees. Some have been cleared, but others are still hanging dangerously in the air and could fall at any time. For that reason the wood has been closed to the public with large warning signs erected at all access points.

Alex Maclennan, recreation, public affairs manager Northumberland with Forestry England, said: "Not only is there a danger of being struck by falling trees and branches, but the conditions under foot are extremely difficult.

"Heavy harvesting equipment is also currently removing trees and clearing access roads. This poses its own threat to people who ignore signs and slows down the work.

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"Shutting a popular woodland is a serious decision for us, but public safety comes first. We hope to have the wood fully opened by the summer, but until then it’s vital people stay away.”

Thrunton Wood is closed for safety works.Thrunton Wood is closed for safety works.
Thrunton Wood is closed for safety works.

Iain Nixon, team leader with Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team, added: “I’m not sure how the walkers ended up where they did in an area of significant tree fall, but thankfully nobody was injured. Whilst all ended well, we would reiterate Forestry England’s advice to stay out of the wood until work is completed.”

Other Forestry England woodlands in the Rothbury area affected by Storm Arwen include Kidland and Harwood, where only the forest roads are open, and Simonside, which is now fully accessible.

Rural Inspector Garry Neill of Northumbria Police said: “Our top priority is always the safety of those who live in our area and that’s why we’re urging people to stay clear of Thrunton Wood currently.”

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