The National Trust has a woodland management plan for the Crags which is available to view by searching — and entering Hardcastle Crags in search box.

I was surprised to see that extensive work on the Beech trees has already begun within the last week or two. Quite a number of selected mature trees have had all the crown removed and a chainsaw version of ring barking to the lower trunk. The reason for leaving them like this is to provide standing dead wood. They will not recover; unlike Oak or Ash treated in this way would probably survive and some would thrive.

So far the older ones have been left alone and I do hope they are allowed to remain.

The tree works are taking place above Gibson Mill, near the 2 footbridges upstream; on left banking looking upstream.

There will be replanting but I do hope the numbers aren’t excessive; it is the spaces between trees that make for a functioning woodland. A good experiment would be to leave an area to seed itself and compare it with an adjacent one that is planted.

Beech is a bit of a nuisance in the wrong place or in excessive numbers but there is no doubt it makes an impressive tree. We are seeing the last of the big Beech trees in the Calder Valley; photograph them whilst you can. The massive one at the junction of Mytholm steeps and the main road, just opposite the turning circle at Hebden Bridge, has been condemned and will soon be gone.


                                     Many in this area have had all the upper crown remove


                                               Ring barking as well as crown removal

                                                 More sunlight as crowns are removed

                                                                Tops taken out