Woodland walkers mud warning

mud boots web

The recent spate of relentlessly wet weather has prompted Forestry Commission Scotland to remind people working in or visiting a woodland or forest to ‘Keep it Clean’.

The Commission’s Keep it Clean biosecurity campaign aims to help prevent the spread of tree pests and diseases, which can be carried from one location to another in mud and forest debris including on boots, bike wheels, dogs paws, horses hooves and tools.

Dr Anna Brown, Forestry Commission Scotland’s Head of Tree Health, said;

“It’s great to know that even in this foul weather there are some hardy souls prepared to venture out and enjoy Scotland’s forests.

“However, they will be faced with some pretty tough conditions. There will be some trails that will be flooded or washed out and others that will in part be very muddy – and that’s why we’re reminding people to Keep it Clean.

“There’ll be no avoiding the mud - in fact you can get as muddy as you like – but don’t take it from one place to another.

“All we’re asking is that when people get home, they take the time to make sure that their footwear, bike tyres, kit, shoes and walking poles – and even their dog’s paws – are cleaned and mud free before venturing out to another location.

“It’s a small thing to do – a matter of minutes - but it could have a big impact on the health of your local forest or woodland and those across Scotland.”

The spores that infect trees can live for a very long time. So even if it’s been months since you were last out in the woods, it’s always best to clean your kit before you head out.

You don’t need much to ‘Keep it Clean’ – a stiff brush for boots and an old towel for paws should do the trick. If you don’t have a hose to wash down your bike tyres, a brush should also work there.

Keeping it Clean will help to slow the spread of tree pests and diseases; as well as helping to keep our forests healthy, it will buy us time to research and develop other actions that we can take to ensure the long term health of our woodlands.

Everyone working together to adopt new habits will have a positive impact on the forests we know and love.  

Notes to editors

  1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment and Forestry Directorate.
  2. Forest Enterprise Scotland is an agency of Forestry Commission Scotland and manages the National Forest Estate on behalf of Scottish Ministers.
  3. Tha Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba na phàirt de Bhuidheann-Stiùiridh na h-Àrainneachd is Coilltearachd aig Riaghaltas na h-Alba. Tha e an urra ri riaghladh agus cumail maoineachadh is comhairle ri coilltearachd ann an Alba. Tha Iomairt Choilltean na h-Alba na fo-bhuidheann aig Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba a tha a’ ruith Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta.
  4. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, 0300 067 6507 / 07785 527590 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.