The Himalayan Walk on Biddulph Grange Country Park crosses a bend in the stream by the way of two wooden bridges. Compare this with an opposite view, SJ9059 : Bridges on the Himalayan Walk
, taken in October 2010 and we can see that the Rhododendrons have been completely removed here to try and stop the spread of Sudden Oak Death.
Phytophthora ramorum, or Sudden Oak Death, is a plant disease (or pathogen) that kills Oaks and many other species of trees that has caused devastation in a lot of forests in America. In 2002 it was found in the UK, specifically in container grown Rhododendron, Camellia and Viburnum plants being sold by nurseries, since when it has been found on Rhododendron plants (amongst other species) growing in the wild. It appears from research carried out that the pathogen produces a non-fatal disease in the leaves of Rhododendrons, called “ramorum dieback “, these infected plants seem to act as a host for the disease which then releases spores that are carried by wind and water plus on the footwear of humans and the coats of animals. Although research and development is in place to try and find a cure for this disease, at present the only way to control it is to try and contain it by eradicating the affected plants. Phytophthora ramorum was found to be existing amongst the many Rhododendrons growing on Biddulph Grange Country Park and the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council were served a Statutory Notice by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) to remove all the Rhododendrons growing on the park by 2012. Unfortunately, this will mean the loss of a lot of colour in the Spring woodlands here as well as completely changing the look of an area known as the Himalayan Walk- named for the origins of the Rhododendron. For more information see DEFRA's website at Link
(Archive version: Link
) and Wikipedia at Link