The Forest Service is urging all forest visitors to take more care in the woods – because many don’t know the risks they might encounter in a working woodland.
Sadly serious accidents to visitors still occur in forests across the UK and beyond.
Closer to home forest workers have reported incidents where some visitors have not paid attention to warning signage and walk, run or cycle into active forest work sites putting themselves at significant risk.
A new leaflet aims to highlight the hazards and ensure everyone can enjoy forests safely.
DAERA Chief Forest Officer, Malcolm Beatty said: “Our forests are great places to visit and we want people to enjoy them, but we urge visitors to take care.
“The forest is a natural environment and you should be prepared for sudden changes in weather, rugged terrain, deep water and hidden cliff edges. The forest is also a working environment and forest operations take place all year round. Work areas will be clearly signposted and you should obey signage to help ensure your personal safety.
“We use warning signs on site to highlight dangers and risks, and we put in place diversions to avoid work sites because the heavy machinery can be very dangerous. Both felled timber and woodlands that are part-felled can pose dangers."
The Chief Forest Officer concluded by saying: “It’s important that forest visitors appreciate the risks of work sites and that instructions on site signage is for their protection. Following these instructions will ensure that a visit to the forest remains safe and enjoyable.”
Notes to editors:
1. The Forest Service visitor Safety Leaflet is available on the DAERA website.
2. Harvesting work is taking place in the following forest parks in the coming months:
- Gortin Glen Forest Park and Davagh Forest - County Tyrone
- Florence Court Forest and Lough Navar Forest – County Fermanagh
- Donard Forest, Castlewellan Forest Park, Tollymore Forest Park and Drumkeeragh Forest – County Down
- Gosford Forest Park – County Armagh
- Iniscarn Forest – County Londonderry (south L’derry on the slopes of Slieve Gallion)
3. Further information on forest parks is available on the nidirect website.
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5. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or via email to DAERA Press Office. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.