WALKERS are upset that trees are being cut down along a popular public footpath near Wellington.

Somerset residents have said it is "extremely disappointing and distressing" to see so many trees being cut down on the footpath near Nynehead Court, especially as they are part of a conservation area.

But Nynehead Court have said they are planning to replace the non-native trees they are cutting down, with replacement native trees - "to encourage wildlife".

"Contractors are currently clearing some spotted laurel (an invasive non-native species) and self-seeded sycamores on the boundary driveway of the Nynehead Court Estate," a spokesperson for Nynehead Court said.

"The work is being monitored by ecologists Clarkson Woods, and is part of our planned habitat management plan.

"Native replacement trees will be planted to encourage local wildlife into the estate."

Somerset County Gazette: Trees have been cut down along the public footpath at Nynehead Court

An application was made to Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) in November last year, asking to cut down a large ash tree.

This was because the tree was showing early signs of ash dieback and a number of properties would have been badly damaged if the tree were to fall.

The application states: "I do not believe that a reduction of any sort is a viable option as any wounds would leave the tree even more susceptible to infection from chalara and other devastating pathogens."

And the application was approved earlier this year and the tree has been cut down.

Walkers are concerned because there were no more applications submitted to SWT asking to fell trees in the area.

"In October last year a cork oak was sadly blown down in a storm in this area, and an unsafe Ash tree was recently taken down with the knowledge and consent of the tree officer," the Nynehead Court spokesperson added.

"Preserving the beauty and ecology of the Nynehead Court Estate is of primary importance to us.

"We are in the process of putting up over 40 bird nesting boxes around the estate to attract different species of birds.

"We are delighted that local people are interested in the ecology and wildlife at the Nynehead Court Estate, and would invite them to visit our website, where our new nature blog is available to read."