AROUND 40 per cent of the trees at Tredegar House may be chopped down as they have become “rotting and unsafe”, National Trust staff said.
They plan to replace the non-native pine trees with saplings more in keeping with the original trees at the house, as well as potentially install new paths and a children’s play area.
Views across the grounds will not be affected as trees closest to the house will not considered for felling until the new trees grow tall enough, a spokesman said.
17th-century mansion Tredegar House sits within 90 acres of gardens and parkland in the west of Newport.
The pine trees which will be cut down are those considered particularly likely to fall or be damaged in high winds close to the current perimeter fence, near the Office for National Statistics office in Duffryn.
National Trust staff have submitted a planning application to fell around 40 per cent of the trees in the area, and thin the density of the remaining woodland. People will get the chance to have their say on the plans in early August this year.
Steve Morgan, head gardener at Tredegar House, said: “Our plan is about restoring the area to a more fitting historic planting scheme showing off the important specimen trees at Tredegar and providing replanting for the future. We’ve felt for some time that we’ve had the wrong wood in the wrong place.
“We want to implement change that will bring greater biodiversity to the woodland in the future and bring greater long-term benefit to the people who enjoy these woodlands at Tredegar House.
“Our plans will mean improved public access and potentially new paths, play areas and walking trails. Most importantly these planned changes will make it safe for our neighbours and nearby businesses.”
If approved, work will take place for around two to three weeks in late autumn this year while the house and grounds remain open.
Some extra traffic will be noticeable as machinery operates in the woods.
Ray Hawes, National Trust Head of Forestry, added: “The National Trust looks after eight million or so trees at its places, including around 40,000 ancient and notable trees. We were a founder member of both the Tree Council and are a member of Ancient Trees Forum. So, we hope people can judge that we have a very strong commitment to getting it right when it comes to woodland conservation and management.
“Woodland management has developed quite a bit since these non-native conifers were planted at Tredegar. In fact, these trees have seriously declined in health in the recent past and that is what has led to the current problems. So, we’re ushering in a new era guided by National Trust core principles to look after our natural environment – as we do our buildings – for ever, for everyone to enjoy.”
Parents and dog owners will also be advised to pay extra regard to the safety of their children and animals while work is being conducted on site.