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Riders are being urged to pick out their horses’ hooves and remove any leaf-litter from their legs after riding to help halt the spread of dieback disease in Britain’s 80 million ash trees.

Defra has asked riders, walkers and dog owners to take “simple bio-security measures” after visiting woodland to avoid spreading the chalara fraxinea fungus that causes the disease, which has devastated woodland across Europe.

“There is a minimal risk of the disease being spread in this way,” said a Defra spokesman.

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (15 November 2012)