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Chainsaw Massacre at Hardcastle Crags woodlands

From John Getty

Sunday, 23 October 2011

I am alarmed at the amount of wholesale woodcutting going on in the Crags. There is now a formal woodcutting yard and a sawmill on the road/path through the woods and in all the 30 years I have lived in this area I can tell you there have been more trees cut down or maimed by some looney with the chainsaw in the past couple of years than the whole previous period.

I have desparately tried to get someone from the forestry commission or the Rural England people out to meet me to show them the growing extent of this but to no avail. The standard reply is that the woods are under woodland management - but I have spoken to many walkers and local farmers alike who all think what is going on is beyond any sensible control.

There has even been someone fooling around with their chainsaw - attempting to carve a chair with a back out of chopped down log. That in itself is against all the Health and Safety guidelines that I am aware of through my work as an engineer.

If anyone else cares then please take an objective walk to Gibson Mill and then up to Walshaw looking to the left and right and just attempt to count the number of trees culled and the others with branches severely chopped off some to the point of death.

It appears like somone has recently been given a chainsaw like a kid with a toy and is just looking to chop at anything they can find.

The destruction gets worse everytime I go through the estate and now seems to be spilling out onto Midgehole road woods.

I used to see quite a few lovely little Roa deer in the woods in the evenings but now since the advent of these clearings giving little or no cover in some areas the deer have gone into hiding or worse have been caught by dogs perhaps.

This wood was doing fine for the last thirty years in my opinion, does anyone else care? If the people who are running the wood are allowed to behave like this for much longer we will lose too much of this
lovely are forever.

If they want to see big open spaces just go further up the valley to the moor.... there are not enough trees within a ten mile radius to justify this carnage.

From Claire M

Sunday, 23 October 2011

It is distressing. Who is managing it do we know? It would be good if locals could have a look at the plan for the woods...

From Rev Tony Buglass

Monday, 24 October 2011

The whole area is National Trust property. They will be responsible for all management of property, paths and woodland. In my experience, they are generally pretty good and very professional. If you have any queries, they are the people to contact.

From Andy M

Tuesday, 26 October

I echo Tony's advice above and suggest that you contact the National Trust who will undoubtedly have a management plan for the woodlands under their ownership aimed at long-term woodland management and conservation value. (see below)

I can understand your distress at what can be sudden and dramatic changes within woodland but this is often the case where long term management has to be addressed. I am sure that any management is being carried out with the appropriate safety and species protection requirements and with the long- term benefit of the Craggs at heart.

It might however be a good idea if the Trust were to advertise and explain their management aims more pro-actively?

01422 844518 01422 846236 (weekends) Fax: 01422 841026 Email: hardcastlecrags@nationaltrust.org.uk. Hollin Hall, Crimsworth Dean, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire HX7 7AP

From James Baker

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Yes, it's all National Trust land. You would like to hope there is a sensible woodland management rationale behind the felling. I have emailed them asking what this rationale is, and will post up their reply.

From James Baker

Monday, 31 October 2011


I had a response back from the National Trust, which is as follows:

"A number of local people have expressed concerns regarding our woodland management (directly and through the local press) and our property manager has issued statements to explain why specific works have been carried out. As the management plan has recently been updated we also held a public information day on the 15th of October which gave people the opportunity to come and view the management plan and to discuss their concerns with members of the property team.

I have attached a copy of our Woodland Management Plan for information, together with a copy of the event poster for the 15th of October. Please let me know if you would like to discuss the content of the plan in more detail or if you have any specific queries."

If anyone would like to see their plan I can email through a copy, just contact me at james.baker@hebdenroyd.org.uk

See also

HebWeb Forum - Our woodland's future (Jan-April 2010)