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Ash dieback disease

Ash, by Philip PreceyAsh, by Philip Precey

‘Ash dieback’ is a serious disease of ash trees, caused by the fungus Chalara fraxinea. It has already devastated ash woodlands in other parts of northern Europe and has now been found in Britain.

Ash trees are found throughout Derbyshire, in woodlands, parks and hedgerows. We estimate that there are between two and four million ash trees in the county.

They are especially abundant in the limestone dales of the Peak District, where they form upland ashwoods, including those to be found in the Trust’s Wye Valley reserves (Chee Dale, Priestcliffe Lees, Miller’s Dale, Deep Dale and Cramside Wood). The Peak District’s limestone ash woodlands are of international importance.

Ash woodlands are important for wildflowers and invertebrates and loss of such woodland would have a devastating impact on many species including fly orchid, lily-of-the-valley, herb Paris, the shrub mezereon, mosses and liverworts, white-spotted pinon and barred toothed-stripe moths and many other invertebrates as well as pipistrelle bats, owls, treecreepers woodpeckers, bullfinch and song thrush.

What you can do
The Wildlife Trusts are very concerned about the spread of ash dieback and its impact on the natural environment. We are urging our members and supporters to report potential sightings of infected trees to the Forestry Commission.

For further information contact the Chalara helpline on 08459 33 55 77.

If you have a smartphone, you can download the new Ashtag app.

There are a few sensible precautions you can take when visiting ash woodlands. Please remain on footpaths when visiting a woodland and don’t take any material – leaves, sticks, logs etc – home with you.

The Government has published a management plan for tackling ash dieback. The Wildlife Trusts welcome its long-term objective to promote genetic resistance to the disease so that ash woodlands can naturally regenerate over time.

Further advice and information about ash dieback disease is available on The Wildlife Trusts’ website.