Afan Forest’s mountain bike trails at risk

‘Sudden oak death’ tree disease could shut trail centre

An outbreak of Phytophthora ramorum, a fungus-like pathogen, has been found in Japanese larch trees at the popular Afan Forest Park trail centre in South Wales.


While the tree disease, known as ‘sudden oak death’ in the US, isn’t harmful to people or animals, mountain bike riders are being urged to wash their bikes and kit thoroughly before leaving the area to avoid spreading it.

Forestry Commission Wales mountain bike ranger Carl Denham said:  “Everyone who works in or visits the affected woodlands here in South Wales is being asked to observe some simple biosecurity measures so they don’t inadvertently spread this pathogen.

“Bike washes are available at both Afan Forest Park visitor centre, opposite the car park, and Glyncorrwg Mountain Bike Centre, opposite the bike shop.”

The Penhydd trail, which was closed earlier this year for scheduled forestry operations, has been the worst affected so far, and extensive felling of infected larch trees is about to begin there.

Guidelines for the park: guidelines for the park
Forestry Commission

Denham added: “The Phytophthora ramorum outbreak in the woodlands around the Penhydd Trail means more trees will have to be cut down there now, but we still hope the route will reopen in mid-2011.”