ACCESS has been provided to parts of Aberdeenshire woodlands again amid a major operation to clean-up the Storm Arwen-damaged forests.

Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) chiefs say they have reopened the carpark at the Bennachie Visitor Centre on a temporary basis, giving locals and tourists alike use of its trails and hill, until a permanent solution is found. 

With the effects of Storm Arwen - which sent winds of up to 100 mph across the UK in late November 2021 - expected to last months, if not years, it could be some time before FLS' woodlands return to 'normal'. Access to Glenn Doll, Tentsmuir and other woodlands around Aberdeen remains limited.

READ MORE: Storm Arwen: FLS chiefs hope to provide temporary Bennachie Visitor Centre access

Justin Livesey, FLS area visitor services manager, said: “Clearing windblow is a dangerous and difficult job and needs to be planned meticulously.

“The satellite imagery that we received from Scottish Forestry has given us a very good understanding of the main areas we need to focus on but we need to obtain more detailed aerial imagery in order to properly plan the clear up work.

“It is a long and slow process – and it needs to be because it carries significant risk.

"There can be huge tension and forces both in individual trees as well as in jammed stems and root plates that need to be assessed by trained professionals before any clearance work can begin.

RED MORE: Forestry Journal and essentialARB offer free 30-day subscription

“We are therefore asking members of the public to help us by continuing to avoid affected forests. As well as giving our teams the space to work, it will help avoid any accidents and minimise health and safety concerns.”