Trees take to skies as felling begins in Peaks

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HUGE trees are taking to the skies above the Peak District as a project to remove felled timber from a remote hillside gets under way.

The Forestry Commission has set up a special skyline using cables and pulleys - a system usually deployed in mountainous areas of Scotland, Wales and the Lake District.

Skita spruce, pine and larch tree trunks 60ft long are being winched from the hillside close to the Snake Pass, which is off-limits for conventional harvesting and forwarding machinery.

It is the first time a skyline has been ever been used in the Peaks.

Albin Smith, of the Forestry Commission, said: “The Sitka spruce, pine and larch were all planted in 1930 as part of the major expansion of forests following the critical shortages experienced in the First World War.

“Less thought was given to how the trees would be harvested from such steep ground, but the skyline is successfully solving that problem.”

The trees are being felled by foresters using chainsaws, lowered down the valley side and processed by a harvester before being transported to the saw mill.

The work is expected to take until May to complete.

As the trees are felled, cloughs in the 155-hectare Snake Forest will be allowed to naturally regenerate with native species such as oak and rowan. There will be additional planting of species such as aspen and hazel.