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Thursday, 21 February 2013 (3035634)
'We're sorry for muddy mess' say dune bosses
by Natasha Young

MANAGERS of the Ainsdale Sand Dunes National Nature Reserve (NNR) have apologised to visitors, after work at the site has made access difficult over recent weeks.

Heavy machinery was recently used to carry out forestry management work between Ainsdale and Freshfield as part of the Coast Forest Plan to improve the red squirrel habitat and, along with wet windy weather, is said to have caused visitor access tracks to become very muddy.

Long stretches of the Woodland Path are affected and, although the track remains open, it is not currently suitable for cycling. Visitors are also being warned to take extra care and prepare for slippery and muddy conditions until further notice.

The forest management work is now complete, although timber lorries will continue come and go from the dunes until mid-March to collect the cut timber for biofuel supply.

In the meantime, Natural England have been working with The Mersey Forest and the forestry contractor to find a solution to promptly reinstate full access to the NNR.

The worst sections of the main track are due to be cleared of mud this week, and then assessed for any further repair work likely to be needed once all timber is off-site.

The internal woodland paths are set to be levelled as soon as possible to remove the ruts that have developed.

Mike Downey, project adviser for the National Nature Reserve, said: “We have every sympathy with visitors who have found access to the NNR very difficult over recent weeks, and can only offer our sincere apologies for the disruption. We're working hard to get the access tracks back into a reasonable state as quickly as possible, and thank all our visitors for their patience and forbearance while the woodland management work has been going on.

”We will continue to keep people updated as repair works progress, and ask anyone visiting the reserve to take note of the information sheets and notices posted regularly around the site. Many thanks for your co-operation, and we look forward to welcoming all our visitors back trouble-free by early spring.“


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