Warnings to be cautious of storm damage when going for Northumberland forest walks this Easter

Storm Arwen was the first of the winter to cause such destruction in the county's forests. Credit: ITV News

People are being reminded to take extra care when out and about over the Easter holidays as some wooded areas of Northumberland still pose dangers after the winter storms.  

The severe weather brought down thousands of trees across the county and weakened many others, leaving some woodlands, beauty spots, parks and local nature reserves in a potentially dangerous condition.  

There has been ongoing work since the storms hit to make the area safe and clear dangerous and fallen trees, but some areas of the county remain hazardous.  

The county’s forests and woodlands, including Kielder Water and Forest Park, were particularly badly hit. Forestry England crews and contractors have been working to make the area safe for some time.  

Places such as Simonside, Holystone and Thrunton Woods are still closed to the public due to the sheer scale of the damage caused.  

Councillor John Riddle, Cabinet Member for Local Services with Northumberland County Council, said: "The devastation caused by the winter storms, particularly 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.  

"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."

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 or Northumberland National Park’s website, 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.  

All forest trails in the following locations remain closed to the public;

Forestry England work is ongoing to make sure the areas are safe and accessible.

Latest updates can be found on the Forestry England website.