New life harvested by tree felling in forest

Storm damage at go ape site at Beecraigs country park.
Storm damage at go ape site at Beecraigs country park.

Fears that Beecraigs Country Park is being ruined by excessive tree felling have been taken on board by West Lothian Council.

Trees in 20 areas of the forest were blown down during a severe storm in 2012, destroying the former Go Ape aerial assault course.

Three years on, the park is still recovering from the blow.

Sections of the forest wiped out by the gales have left previously sheltered areas vulnerable to further wind damage.

Earlier this month, nine-year-old Linlithgow lad Finlay Felton-Lewis wrote a letter to the Journal and Gazette expressing concern that too many trees in the forest were being cut down at once, leaving it a scene of “devastation”.

The council, however, has stressed that the current programme of tree felling is taking place to clear damaged areas so that more weather resistant species can be planted.

Executive councillor for the environment and Linlithgow councillor, Tom Conn, said: “Beecraigs Country Park is a fantastic asset for West Lothian and offers superb opportunities for leisure, exercise or simply enjoying the outdoors.

“Beecraigs forest is an essential part of the park and the work we are currently undertaking as part of the 20 year management plan aims to repair the damage from severe gales in recent years and safeguard the future of the forest for generations to come.

“Although current forestry work may seem severe, with a number of locations highly visible to visitors, only seven per cent of the total area of forest land at Beecraigs is currently affected.”

Income from harvested timber will be invested in park tree planting, woodland management work and improving paths and facilities.