A HUGE area of Herefordshire has been labelled a demarcated area after a deadly tree disease was found.

Phytophthora pluvialis, a fungus-like pathogen known to affect a variety of trees, was discovered in a woodland in Cornwall in September 2021, where it was found to be affecting mature western hemlock and Douglas-fir trees.

And after an extensive investigation by the Forestry Commission, further outbreaks have been found in Cornwall, Devon, Cumbria, Surrey and now in Herefordshire.

Because of the disease, the Golden Valley in Herefordshire has been named a "demarcated area" with restrictions on tree felling.


A separate notice is also in force Welsh Bicknor and Symonds Yat, near Ross-on-Wye, running south towards Lydney and Chepstow.

A notice has also been issued for South East Wales, which covers from Hay-on-Wye to Chepstow and across to Neath, including the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains.

The areas, according to documents on the UK Government's website, mean there are new restrictions on the felling and moving some "susceptible material".

That material includes wood, bark or trees of the genus Tsuga, Pseudotsuga, Pinus and Notholithocarpus.

The disease is known to affect a variety of tree species, including western hemlock, Douglas fir, tanoak and several pine species, in particular radiata pine, according to the Forestry Commission.

It is reported to cause needle cast, where needles turn brown and fall off, as well as shoot dieback and lesions on the stem, branches, and roots.


Nicola Spence, the UK’s chief plant health officer, said when the Golden Valley order was made in March: “We are taking robust and swift action against the findings of Phytophthora pluvialis at these sites, as part of our well-established biosecurity protocol for tree pests and diseases.

“I urge all sectors to support efforts to tackle this pathogen by checking the health of western hemlock and Douglas-fir trees.

"Key symptoms to look out for are lesions on the stem, branch or roots. Any sightings should be reported to the Forestry Commission via its TreeAlert online portal.”