VOLUNTEERS in Yate are carrying out a major programme of tree planting this autumn and winter, to deal with the threat of ash dieback disease.

"This disease is carried by a fungus" said Paul Hulbert, of the Wapley Bushes Conservation Group, and also serves on Dodginton Parish Council.

"Mature trees are the most affected - they lose their leaves and the crown dies back."

Although Wapley Bushes Nature Reserve is not affected by the disease, there are affected trees within 12 miles of the site.

"If we don't do something now, within 20 years we will have lost all the high canopy in Wapley Woods," said Cllr Hulbert.

"We came up with a scheme to plant other large native species throughout the woodland. This season we will be planting 90 to 100 trees - oak, lime, black poplar, whitebeam and wild service trees.

"They are all native to the west of England area.

"We hope that members of the local community will come along and help us preserve this wonderful woodland.

"Families with children are particularly welcome - we're really planting for the future. We supply the trees, the tools and gloves, people just need to wear wellies or stout footwear."

The first planting morning will be at 10am on Saturday, November 18, at the Shire Way entrance to the nature reserve, opposite the road entrance to Cherington, BS37 8US.

There will also be planting sessions on Sunday, February 18 and Saturday, March 18. The trees and preparation work are being financed by the landowners, Dodington Parish Council.