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Forestry and Land Scotland Ask Walkers to be Careful this Winter

Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) is urging visitors in Highland Perthshire to stay safe if they visit a forest over the Christmas holiday.

Routes such as the Clachan Trail on Loch Tummel are subject to closures and redirections after Storm Arwen’s disruption in forests across Scotland.

Alastair Henry, FLS’ Health & Safety Adviser, said: “It’s been another long and difficult year for everyone and the temptation over the festive season is to get out into the countryside and enjoy the outdoors.

“That enthusiasm can sometimes lead to people taking risks – such as ignoring safety signage or closure notices – because the trail ahead looks clear, or because it doesn’t look like the storm damage is too bad.”

FLS teams are working across the country to restore woodland which has been damaged by the storm.

In some cases, they explained, ‘in some locations, extensive damage will take several months to clear’.

Mr Henry added: “Slips trips and falls in the forest can happen easily in winter conditions where frost, ice and even partially frozen mud can all catch you unawares.

“Attempting to clamber over, around or under fallen trees is also extremely dangerous, especially in wet or icy conditions. Fallen trees might look to be solidly on the ground or stacked across each other but they can slip, pivot, roll or fall at the slightest disturbance.

“It is not worth taking the risk and ruining your Christmas. If the forest is closed, please stay out and if you venture to a forest that is open, please observe all and any safety signage.”

You can check to see the conditions of your local forest on: https://forestryandland.gov.scot/?option=com_fcs&view=advancedsearchresults

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