A Wiltshire woodland closed for almost two years will remain shut until weather conditions allow it to reopen safely.

Vincients Wood, a six-hectare woodland in Chippenham, shut nearly 21 months ago to allow essential felling to trees infected with ash dieback.

While these works were completed last summer, a Wiltshire Wildlife Trust enhancement project has since been ongoing.

This includes habitat improvements, new paths, a glade and pond, trails for children, and the replanting of 1,700 broadleaf trees.

This scheme is close to being completed, but the trust says the reopening date has been delayed by poor weather.

READ MORE: Anger as ancient woodland 'destroyed' by tree felling during closure

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: An entrance to Vincients Wood in ChippenhamAn entrance to Vincients Wood in Chippenham (Image: Newsquest)

A spokesperson said: “We are pleased to say the remaining safety, restoration and reinstatement work at Vincients Wood is nearly finished.

“There is still some minor path restoration and fencing work to complete before reopening. 

“However, we have just had the wettest winter since 1897.

“Although the weather has been drier of late, the nature of this reserve is that it takes a long time to dry out and for the ground to firm up appreciably.

“The ground conditions have of course unavoidably been exacerbated by the works to remove dangerous ash trees and subsequent reinstatement.”

The trust says the ground will need to dry before the woodland can be safely reopened and has urged residents not to enter in the meantime.

A spokesperson added: “If we were to reopen the site now whilst it is still wet, the condition of the newly created paths would be adversely impacted, especially as we anticipate a large amount of footfall with many local people keen to return to enjoy the wood following the period of closure.

“Therefore, we are waiting for the ground to dry up more before we reopen.

“The reopening date will therefore depend on how quickly weather conditions allow it to dry out. 

“For now, you must not enter the wood, which remains closed for everyone’s safety. 

“We understand the importance of accessing the woodland to residents and are working hard to be able to reopen Vincients Wood soon.”

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: An entrance to Vincients Wood in ChippenhamAn entrance to Vincients Wood in Chippenham (Image: Newsquest)

Last year the closure sparked anger amongst those who use the reserve, parts of which have been wooded since 1600, making them ancient woodland.

Some were unhappy with the extent of the felling, and resident Andy Holyoake claimed “years’ worth of damage” was caused.

The trust insisted felling was the only safe option because the extent of diseased trees posed a “hazard”.

Thirty ash trees were retained and identified as having potential for bat roosts, meaning these areas may remain permanently closed.