Following the article in the EADT (6.6.18.) and the rash of emails that followed after yet more young trees were hacked to the ground in our Park, I feel that I should like to add my comments. Every two weeks for the past ten years I have produced Nature Notes on the wildlife of Christchurch Park and its environs. On going through my file I noted that several years ago I was writing about litter on the grass left by picnickers, then I noticed I was increasingly writing about dog ‘litter’. I also used to decry cyclists, particularly arrogant ones who seemed to roam at will all over the Park. This was was followed by the increasing appearance of so-called ‘desire lines’ ie paths created by walkers and joggers who could not be bothered to keep to the footpaths. Then I noticed how the daffodils along the cycle path to the north of the Park were regularly trampled to the ground. One winter the Round Pond froze over and all sorts of objects were thrown onto the ice including on one occasion a park seat. And so it seemed to go on. Discarded needles, yes needles, were to be found in the woodland area following drug activity.
And then there is the tale of the Education Hut which was razed to the ground, although perhaps if it had not been positioned in such a vulnerable place with its equally vulnerable construction then maybe, just maybe, it would still be with us today. Will it ever be replaced? Graffiti also seemed to increase, sadly on one occasion, would you believe, on the Cenotaph. Obviously the perpetrators have never known what it is to serve one’s country (only people of my age remember military conscription, what’s that?) I have over the years produced illustrated signs for the Wilderness Pond and the Wildlife Reserve. Of the two erected in the wildlife reserve, one was within days destroyed by a blow-torch. Carrying a blow-torch into our Park – really?
Sadly I feel that this mindless vandalism is inevitable. It will keep making headlines because it is the way of the world these days or at least it is in this country and indeed in Ipswich. Where is the respect for what some of us are trying to do to make Christchurch Park a place to be enjoyed by as many people as possible? I cannot understand why someone should be so intent on destroying what others might consider beautiful. And although we hate graffiti, why is it so typical wherever it occurs, so banal and ugly (in my opinion)? And tell me why people cast their waste aside to be cleared up by others? I feel it will be difficult to penetrate the minds of vandals of nature. They are here to stay until this behaviour becomes unacceptable to everyone and we put a stop to it.
My heart goes out to David Miller. Having seen my own work destroyed by vandals I know how he feels. Often I have thought that my answer to this threat is to walk away but knowing David Miller, like me, he will fight on hoping that educating the public will eventually win the day. I wish I did not feel so pessimistic because I fear that the wreckers of what we love are here to stay. Just look at the number of supermarket trolleys and bicycles that are retrieved from the River Gipping by James Baker and the Greenways Team. The perpetrators do this because they can and are allowed to.
Spot the apple tree – not easy. My final gripe is about the current state of the Orchard. Why do we have such a feature when nobody seems to care for it (for whatever reason). What is the point of us trying?