Ash Tree’s in Milton Keynes are at Risk from Devasting Ash Die Back Disease

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What is Ash die back?

Owning and being responsible for over 6,000 acres of parks, lakes and landscapes across Milton Keynes, we're currently facing some serious challenges from Ash Die Back which is the fungal disease killing Ash trees. The disease has already swept across Northern Europe and many parts of the UK and now we are finding its presence across Milton Keynes in the mature woodlands and the city’s younger plantations. There is no cure or viable treatment to combat the disease, some trees will be tolerant to it but based on the experience in the rest of Europe only 1-2% of trees have a high tolerance.

What happens to the trees?

As the disease starts to kill trees, they quickly become unstable, are prone to collapse and can shatter in their brittle state. Due to the volume of Ash trees found in Milton Keynes (65% of the upper canopy in Linford Wood is Ash), we are having to take action now to start removing some of the trees before the disease fully takes hold and numerous trees start to dangerously fail all at once. We've identified priority sites for undertaking the removal work based on where the disease is present and the trees that have the potential to cause health and safety issues. These trees will be those close to roads, paths and property and such failing trees are likely to be found on edges of plantations and mature woodlands.

How will you manage the disease?

The Parks Trust have followed advice from the Forestry Commission and Tree Council to help develop plans for managing Ash Die Back which is a devastating disease for Ash trees.

We will start to remove Ash trees in affected areas across the city and continue with our general thinning works, targeting plantations where Ash trees are the dominating species so that we can extend the diversity of species whilst also protecting any healthy Ash. Alternative species that we think have a long-term future in Milton Keynes include; Lime, Hornbeam, Holm Oak, Yew and Field Maple.

As appropriate we will also encourage natural regeneration and we are already gathering Oak acorns, propagating them and planting the saplings in the woodlands as long-term replacements for the Ash. We will continue to monitor the spread of the disease and follow advice from the National Forestry Authority in helping develop our plans to manage this. Part of our thinking and planning (and that is generally advised) is to continue to promote and develop a diversity tree species across our woodlands and plantations, to further protect ourselves from pest and disease attacks wiping whole sections of trees out.

For more information, please view the Forest Research website.


  • Tree Thinning

    Find out why we cut down some trees across Milton Keynes to protect the long-term health of our parks and green spaces and improve them for generations to come.

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  • Coppicing

    We cut back plants during the winter months to improve their long-term health, encourage regrowth and maintain the city’s site lines.

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  • Woodland Management

    We have adopted some ancient techniques in our woodland management, such as coppicing, which benefits wildlife and woodland plants.

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Discover our parks

  • Linford Wood

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    Linford Wood - Park Image.jpg

    Enclosed in the year 1264 by Baron Von Pippard, the original owner of the Linford Manor estate, Linford Wood is the largest and oldest of the Trust's three ancient woodlands. Despite its location close to the city centre, Linford Wood provides a tranquil haven for wildlife and people. Find out more about how we manage Linford Wood by clicking here.

  • Howe Park Wood

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    Howe Park Wood is an ancient woodland in the south west of Milton Keynes near Westcroft and Tattenhoe which boasts a rich variety of wildlife and fantastic on site facilities including toilets, a café and a small play area.

  • Shenley Wood

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    Shenley Wood is one of three ancient woodlands in Milton Keynes, a wonderful spot for a quiet walk and to enjoy the abundant wildlife.

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