The Afan Valley is set to be hit by more tree felling later this year, with The Masts (Foel Fynyddau) trails set to be affected by the latest round of forestry work.
The Welsh Gravity Enduro Instagram account brought the issue to light last week when they posted to Instagram in protest at the news that more trees were to be removed from the area and that is might destroy a network of trails that have been around for the last 20 years.
The news has sparked outrage for local riders and those who frequent the area with some resorting to a petition to make NRW (National Resource Wales) rethink their plans to remove Pine trees from the Foel forest. Currently, nearly 4,000 people have signed the petition
which asks for NRW to rethink their plans as they believe that more thought needs to be paid to the impact that the tree felling will have on the local community.
Upon hearing this news we reached out to NRW who had this to say about their tree felling in the area.
The Afan Valley is no stranger to tree felling with thousands of trees removed over the past few years as Afan Forest has had widespread disease issues amongst its trees. A BBC News report from 2015 states that 1.600 acres of Larch trees were removed because of Phytophthora ramorum (a fungal disease which kills the tree) but NRW were determined to plant more trees in the area.
Andy Schofield, operational resources manager for Natural Resources Wales told the BBC: "Like so many of the south Wales forests, this disease has had a significant impact on the forest resulting in the felling of thousands of infected trees.
"However, we are now implementing ambitious long-term plans for the recovery of the forest, which we believe has huge potential to improve the economic and social well-being of the area."
Despite NRW stating that no trails will be removed or damaged in the process, it will force riders to find new routes in the area as works take place in the forest and once the trees are removed the landscape will not be the same again for quite some time. But if the trees are disease then the best option is to remove them to ensure the whole forest is not destroyed.