The amenity value of woods under Forestry Commission control such as Puddletown Woods is widely recognised, as is the need to maintain these amenities by occasional forestry works.

However, the present forestry operations in Puddletown Woods has led to many of the ‘off-track’ woodland trails used by MTB (cyclists) and walkers seeking solitude, being completely obstructed by brush, logs and other detritus.

Some care and sensitivity are needed when attempting to preserve a woodland amenity but unfortunately the machinery employed is huge and indiscriminate in its destruction of undergrowth and amenity trails alike.

Whilst vandalism may not be the intention, the results certainly give that appearance.

One hopes that the Forestry Commission has in its management plan an item to reinstate all the destroyed woodland trail ways (not just the public rights of way and forestry tracks) including those used by the off-road community, hopefully in consultation with that community.

I was told by a forestry operations worker that the woodland trail I was using and which had been obliterated in part, was ‘unofficial’. Well that’s as maybe, but it was still a public amenity enjoyed by many and now much of it is gone.

If forestry operations are required to maintain and protect an amenity, then surely some sensitivity should be exercised in their execution, such that the existing amenity value is not destroyed in the process.


Maiden Castle Road, Dorchester