“Few heed the warning of a distant drum.”

I’d been hearing for several years about a disease in Wales which was killing the larch trees. But Wales is a long way off and anyway theirs were ‘Jap’ larch, while ours are mainly European. We should be OK.

Not any longer. I learn that each spring the Forestry Commission hire a helicopter to fly low over the country looking for telltale signs of trees not ‘greening up.’ This year it was some of our larch in Rising Wood at Coleorton which caught their attention. Tristan, their local officer, has been to see us and the news is bad.

Bad because larch is the main tree over much of our Coleorton woods, and they must all be felled.. Also the Rhododendron since this, remarkably, is the associated species. We have acres of this too, because these were originally the pleasure woods for Coleorton Hall. At the end of it all I reckon we will have fifty acres or more of bare ground to deal with.

All this must be replanted with other species, and then nurtured for several years until they are established. The larch timber can be sold and, partly because of Covid, prices are high. If that is a silver lining it’s a very thin one.