Once upon a time, in a place just north of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Lynn, there was a wood, not big and not the tidiest and it had a number of fallen trees. To the people living close by and the wildlife living within, it was paradise.
There were always birds singing and lots of little creatures scurrying around in the undergrowth. Importantly, it was home to a good number of hedgehogs – but their very existence is now threatened.
Locals were looking forward to the annual spread of bluebells that always appeared each spring. The wood was owned by a farmer for many years, a man who cared about it and its wildlife. His ownership was no secret. A year or so ago it was sold as an ‘amenity woodland’. The identity of the new owner a closely guarded secret. Perhaps now we know why. Recently, a gang of men with machines descended on the wood and proceeded to destroy much of it. Countless healthy trees have been cut down and large areas of shrubs and undergrowth have been bulldozed. The areas where hedgehogs were hibernating and where the bluebells would have appeared have been obliterated.
I live here. I played in this wood as a lad, more than 50 years ago. My children played there as did my grandchildren. I and many others have walked our dogs, or just gone down there for some peace and quiet for almost as long. What strikes us is the secrecy – we cannot identify the owner. There was no warning of this, no planning notices posted. We have tried speaking to the men carrying out this destruction, but they just avert their eyes and say they do not even know who is employing them. There are some areas of the wood unaffected by this destruction, but these men have taken their digger and tractor there and bulldozed or dumped debris, blocking paths used by local people. Why? As amenity woodland we would have thought that the owner has responsibilities for conservation and recreation. We are heartbroken by this devastation. We now ask the mysterious owner to admit responsibility for this action and explain his or her plans.
Ed Plume, Lynn