Following two devastating income-reducing lockdowns this year the wonderfully wooded and popular Ambleside holiday park, Skelwith Fold, faces a new challenge.
The Forestry Authority has discovered the park’s plantation of larches – some 150 years old and 50 feet high – is infected with the deadly plant disease Phytophthora Ramorum, a fungal-like organism that affects a wide range of trees and shrubs including sweet chestnut, oak, beech and rhododendron. The disease is spread through wind and rain, so owner Henry Wild is keen to deal with the problem as quickly as possible.
“We must now remove up to 200 specimens of mainly larch in order to stop the disease spreading,” said Henry. “It is a gigantic and costly task for which no financial aid is available – and we can ill-afford to sustain any more losses by not being ready to re-open in spring.
The job is made more challenging by the shorter winter days, social distancing by the forestry workers and the close proximity of some trees to the park’s static caravans.
The park is known for its wildlife, including its colony of red squirrels, and Henry will be exploring ways of restoring their habitat.
The problem is affecting thousands of larch trees around the UK.