Access To Peaks National Park – Further Prohibition

In April 2023 it was announced that access to certain areas of the Peaks National Park (PNP) would be prohibited. This was in response to the increasing concerns of the presence of plant pathogens affecting endemic trees within the PNP and the potential for these to spread,

This prohibition was initially put in place until the end of December 2023 and then extended until March 2024 when it would be reviewed on the basis of relevant information and evidence.

Since the discovery of the pathogens over a year ago, the Environment, Natural Resources and Planning Portfolio (ENRP) has been working to identify the pathogens present, confirm that these pathogens are causing the tree deaths within the PNP and monitor the spread. This has been in collaboration with the St Helena Research Institute (SHRI), the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) and the Birmingham Institute for Forest Research (BIFor) primarily under the Darwin Plus DPLUS157 ‘Managing the Pathogens Affecting St Helena’s Biodiversity and Food Security’ project.

Over the past few months personnel from CABI and BIFor, supported by on-island staff from the SHRI and ENRP, have undertaken inoculation experiments on selected PNP plant species to assess vulnerability or resistance to plant pathogens. Genetic analysis to identify the presence of plant pathogens has also been done on plant material from trees that were showing symptoms of being infected. A report on the results of this work along with recommendations on how we can move forward both in terms of access to the PNP and the conservation of the Peaks’ habitats and species is now being worked on.

It is therefore regrettable but necessary for the sites within the PNP that have Environmental Protection Notices (EPNs) erected to remain closed for the next few months. Following receipt of the results and recommendations, ENRP will formulate and implement a plan for access. These recommendations could be that some areas of the PNP will remain closed for the foreseeable future or that some areas will be opened with appropriate biosecurity measures in place.

As per current procedure, those who need access to prohibited sites for essential work can apply to the Chief Environmental Officer Isabel Peters by telephone on 24724 or by email through

We will continue to provide updates to the public and would like to thank everyone for their support and patience in helping to ensure St Helena’s important species and habitats are protected as far as possible.

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St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470