A popular woodland site will undergo extensive management due to tree disease.

The Woodland Trust plans to carry out the work at South Park near Prudhoe, prompted by an infectious strain known as phytophthora ramorum which affects larch trees but does not affect humans.

The disease has been rapidly affecting the site's trees.

The Forestry Commission issued a Statutory Plant Health Notice to The Woodland Trust with an order to fell all affected trees.

The disease is caused by an algae-like organism that can easily spread between tree plantations.

Infected trees must be felled and destroyed to prevent further spread of the disease.

John Wilson, site manager for The Woodland Trust, said: "It is sad that we have to remove the trees but it is a legal requirement to stop disease spreading.

"South Park is a wonderful local attraction and we are looking forward to improving it further over the coming months.

"Once the trees have been removed we will be planting new native broadleaved trees over the coming tree planting season.

"Also the ground flora in parts is shaded out under the larch trees and especially rhododendron so with its removal it will give native plants a chance to flourish once more."

Tree removal will start this summer and the Trust hopes to remove the majority of trees by the autumn.

Dealing with the rhododendron plants may take longer due to their vigorous regrowth.

Rik Metcalfe, forestry and harvesting manager at the Woodland Trust, said: "As part of the forestry works we will be constructing an access road into the woodland from the south, we can reassure people this is first and foremost for extracting the timber from the woodland and will be built with as little impact on the surrounding landscape as possible.

"Once the works are complete the track will have the benefit of being a fully accessible, all weather option for the public to use when enjoying the area.

"When managing woodland and extracting timber the process can look quite messy and initially the change can be quite stark but the area will recover in a relatively short period of time and with a few seasons of new growth it will be changing for the better."

As a safety measure, the visitors are urged to follow all warning signs and site information at South Park during the ongoing work.