CWMCARN Forest Drive has fast become one of Gwent’s top tourist attractions.

Every years tens of thousands of people visit the area and use the winding roads through the forest to make their way to the top to enjoy the views over the surrounding countryside.

But now there are very real fears among its many supporters that the previously-reported decision to close the roads to allow for the felling and removal of thousands of diseased trees, will mean the end of the drive for good.

Natural Resources Wales says it has no option but to close the seven-mile drive in November to start large-scale felling of larch trees across a 400-acre section, which have been infected with an untreatable condition.

It might well be the case the NRW has no option but to take such drastic action, although there are those who disagree that closure is necessary.

But what gives us and others more cause for concern is NRW’s reluctance to commit to re-opening the forest drive once the work is completed. At best the NRW says it hopes to do so, but cannot commit further because of the financial strain facing all of Wales’ public sector.

To lose the forest drive would be a crying shame.

We urge NRW to recognise the importance of the drive to Cwmcarn Forest and to commit to re-opening it once the necessary tree felling is done.