Forest Service issues safety advice to forest visitors

DAERA Chief Forest Officer Malcolm Beatty
DAERA Chief Forest Officer Malcolm Beatty

The Forest Service is urging County Antrim forest visitors to take more care in the woods – because many don’t know the risks they might encounter in a working woodland.

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.

While there is no tree harvesting work scheduled in County Antrim in the next few months, visitors are asked to be aware of the dangers.

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.”

Mr Beatty added: “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.”