21 Dec 2018

HISTORIC DOCUMENTS - No. 4


Critics from Essex

Continuing our research into the history of Darch’s Wood, we move on to November 1989, and paraphrase extracts from a highly critical letter written by a lady from Essex commenting on the state of the woodland two years after the hurricane. 

We thought we would enjoy walking in the woodland – the notice says it is for the enjoyment of the Community.  What a sad place it is still after all this long time – not really enjoyable.  Our local Nature Reserve had the same kind of damage.  The weekend following the storm a large party of volunteers cleared the driveway leading to the car park.  Subsequently teams of volunteer workers, school groups, scout groups, Duke of Edinburgh awards youth, watch groups etc, two 80 year olds, and many in their 70’s worked hard to clear branches twigs etc.  My husband (now 80) and I spend 2 to 3 hours each week clearing footpaths.  Our warden organises all the helpers.

You need a warden to rally the community into action to clear all the debris.  The paths need to be levelled and drainage ditches repaired.  We have a very enthusiastic chairman backed by a committee who all do their share of organising.  I say again, form a good hard-working committee.

Come on Cross in Hand, get going.  It’s your woodland.  Make it an enjoyable place to visit.

And here are paraphrased extracts from the Chairman’s response.

You might have considered how wounding your words are to the members of the Society, who have spent tens of thousands of pounds and uncounted hours converting a wood that has been left to deteriorate for 50 years into a beautiful amenity, all destroyed in a single night. 

80% of trees were lost and it was impossible to gain entry.  It took months just to cut paths through the fallen timber to evaluate a clearance plan.   It has taken 2 professional contractors to effect the partial clearance to enable access to the wood.  The thought of untrained volunteers working in such conditions is quite ludicrous and irresponsible.

I hope the extent of the damage suffered will give you cause to reflect your criticism of our local people.

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