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Tree felling underway to tackle larch disease

A south Wales attraction is due to close this weekend while Natural Resources Wales deal with larch disease in the area.

Forest Drive, a stretch of road through Cwmcarn Forest, will close to allow felling teams to carry out large-scale tree felling to remove over 50,000 tonnes of infected timber and forestry.

Around 1,300 hectares of larch trees have now been cut down in a bid to keep the disease in check and limit the damage Credit: ITV

The rest of the attraction however, including a visitor centre, play areas, footpaths and mountain bike trails, will remain open.

The difficult decision to close the drive has been taken as the road will be used throughout the works by large forestry machinery and to transport felled trees out of the forest.

No decision has been made about the future of Forest Drive yet as it will require considerable investment to repair following the felling and haulage operations.

However, Natural Resources Wales is keen to reopen it if feasible and staff will be exploring all possible funding options to do this.

– Natural Resources Wales

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More protection for island habitats welcomed

Skomer is home to puffins and other species. Credit: Suzy Harrison/PA Images

RSPB Cymru is welcoming more protection for habitats at three key sites for seabirds.

The sites are RSPB Grassholm, The Wildlife Trusts of South and West Wales islands of Skomer and Skokholm and Bardsey Island, which is managed by the Bardsey Island Trust.

The move, announced by the Welsh Government means that between 2 – 9 km of the seas around the islands are now protected by law.

Skomer is described as a photgrapher's paradise. Credit: David Jones/PA Archive/PA Images

The Society says the sites will contribute to the network of protected special sites helping seabird colonies to be healthier and more resilient to other issues like the effects of climate change.

The seas around islands like these are so important for our seabirds as these are where the birds socialise. Birds like gannets, Manx shearwaters and puffins, will use areas like this for preening, bathing and displaying.

– Gareth Cunningham RSPB Cymru Marine Policy Officer

Water released to help migrating fish

The water release will last for five days. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Wire

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) says it's taking steps to encourage salmon and sewin (sea trout) to reach their spawning grounds and improve stocks.

It says the dry September weather has been a welcome treat for most but for Wales’ fish populations the lack of rain is hindering their annual migration.

To combat this, NRW has worked with Dwr Cymru Welsh Water to release water from reservoirs into the rivers Tywi and Cleddau to encourage adult salmon and sewin to enter the rivers from Carmarthen Bay.

“The River Tywi and its population of salmon and sea trout is worth an estimated £10.2 million to the Welsh economy and the release will benefit anglers as well as boost fish numbers.........

The release of additional water from the reservoirs will not affect the public water supply and people who use the river have been alerted to take care as the flow will increase to four times its current level.

– Dave Mee, Fisheries Team Leader for NRW

Calls for law to 'protect' countryside from off-roaders

A campaign's been launched calling for new laws to help protect the wild uplands of north east Wales from off-roading.

The Llangollen-based 'Save Our Paths' group says the number of off-roaders coming to the region is growing, with paths and countryside being damaged.

Ian Lang reports.

Phone app helps find lost walkers in Snowdonia

A smartphone app was used to find a man and woman who got lost in poor visibility and then darkness high on a Snowdonia peak.

At 7.30pm on Saturday night, Aberdyfi search and rescue team were alerted to two lost walkers, in their 20s and from Birmingham, on Cadair Idris, near Dolgellau. One had an injured knee.

A small party of mountain rescuers made their way directly to the location after their mobile phone position was pinpointed. The pair were escorted down the mountain to Gwernan lake, which rescuers said was a slow process because of the tussock and gorse-covered hillside, and everyone was off the near-3,000ft peak by 11pm.

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