WALKERS are being warned to keep to the public footpath and keep dogs under close control when passing through Becky Addy Wood near Westwood.

Bradford on Avon Town Council has put up warning signs after identifying the need to fell trees affected by ash dieback disease.

The disease, which is caused by a fungus known as Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, is spreading across the UK by airborne spores.

In Becky Addy Wood, several ash trees have been severely affected, meaning they become unstable, with the likelihood that branches could drop off or the tree could fall down.

The town council says: "Our plan is to close areas of the woodland except for the public footpath to avoid more extensive felling of trees in the woodland.

"In these closed areas, we plan to allow diseased trees to decline, providing valuable wildlife habitat, and to monitor trees that show resistance."

The move follows a professional survey of the wood, which was acquired by the council in April 2020 on behalf of the local community.

The ancient woodland covers 10 acres and includes a right of way that parallels the Kennet & Avon Canal and provides a walking route to Avoncliff.

The council plans to reduce or fell some trees near to the footpath and road to Avoncliff for safety reasons.

The felling will affect around 10 per cent of the woodland canopy cover.

The council says: "No pre-emptive work on trees is planned and healthy trees will be unaffected.

"Precautionary surveys will check for bat roosts in the trees and the work is being carefully planned to minimise damage and to maximise the biodiversity and the ongoing recovery of the woodland."