Following the Phytopthera ramorum (known as Sudden Oak Death) in Rhododendrons at Shibden last year, there has been an outbreak of this tree disease in the Peak district this year.

Today, the Forestry Commission have said 25 acres of Larch trees will have to be felled at Churn Clough on the slopes of Pendle Hill because they have been found to be infected. These are the only outbreaks in England to occur outside the South West and the FC expect more will be found.

Although (so far) our native oaks have not been found suceptible, it seems Bilberry and other heathland plants are at great risk.
Rhododendron ponticum is a sporulating host for this disease and it should be a great worry that our area has lots of this plant. I am surprised the government hasn’t made it a priority to fund removal of this pest before the Ramorum affects our moors.