Conservation or Catastrophe?

Last week I called in to my favourite bluebell wood to see how the delicate flowers were maturing, only to find that a reputable authority had got there first.

This secluded wood was well known for bluebells in the spring. However recognising that some of the trees were suffering from Ash dieback the managers of the site sent in the conservation squad with their bulldozers, chainsaws and axes. The result seems to be a sort of Monty Python massacre.

I assume they identified the trees suffering from the fungus and clearly thought that before they began they ought to practise on one or two other trees. “Those beech trees seem a bit close together perhaps we ought to take down some of those as well!”

The massive log pile they had created didn’t seem to contain any diseased trees – it looked a bit like a wholesale log sale – and potentially a very profitable one.

But it wasn’t just the absence of dozens of trees but the mess that was left behind. Familiar paths were no longer visible and vast swathes of the interior resembled a rather bombed out area after a particularly nasty 1st World War battle.

There was a cheerful notice at the entrance reassuring the visitor that it would be all right in the end. My mind turned to Sonny Kapoor the manager of the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel who despite the hopeless mess he was faced with announced that it would be all right at the end – and if it was not all right, then clearly it was not yet the end. In the case of the wood, I didn’t feel that it was all right, but hoped that the wrecking crew would not be returning to try and make it so.  Clearly they will be back to take away the vast piles of logs they have assembled. I was left wondering how much more damage would be done by vehicles which would be need to transport that timber to the sawmill.

Well done National Trust.