As many as 550 ash trees will be felled this winter across Maidenhead, Taplow and Cookham as a deadly disease sweeps though the country's woodland.

The trees are falling victim to Ash Dieback and 1,000 acres of National Trust woodland at Cliveden and in Maidenhead and Cookham Commons will be affected.

Away from those public areas trees will be left to die and decay naturally to create homes for wildlife.

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Ash trees form up to 20 per cent of woodland in Britain. Between 75 to 95 per cent of them are expected to be lost in the next 20 to 30 years.

Owen Hibben, Lead Ranger for Maidenhead and Cookham Common says: “This deadly disease is killing many of the trees in our woodland. It’s causing some trees to become brittle, with the potential to become unstable or shed limbs. It’s important that we act to remove those that pose a risk in order to protect visitors and the public.

“Trees have been individually assessed for their impact and we’re only removing the ones that have passed the threshold for becoming a risk to the public. Others will be left to allow nature to take its course."

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Tim Crauford, lead ranger for the Cliveden estate at Taplow said: “We’ve found that it’s the younger 20 to 30 year-old ash trees that are most affected by the disease and we’re encouraged that some of the mature and veteran trees seem more resilient, maybe they hold the key to the future.

“The woodland will be allowed to regenerate naturally, while elsewhere on the Cliveden estate 250 new trees are being planted as part of the regular programme of restoration works.

"We realise that seeing machinery removing trees in well-loved landscapes is difficult for people. As a team we find it hard too. Please be patient with us when we have to temporarily close or divert routes whilst the forestry operations are underway.”

To make a donation towards the National Trust’s plans for new planting nationally, visit