Bexhill environmentalist’s anger at woodland vandalism

An environmentalist was ‘spitting blood’ after discovering vandals had left a trail of destruction in a new wood which was planted just five months ago.

Trees vandalised on Bexhill Down.
Trees vandalised on Bexhill Down.

Around £6,250 of grant money was spent on creating the new wood, including planting and staking 525 trees, at Bexhill Down in November.

But the area has become a target for vandals over the last few days, with young trees flattened, uprooted and wooden stakes broken. Larger trees had their branches snapped or damaged.

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Around 30 young trees were affected in the first incident on Thursday night (April 8).

Trees vandalised on Bexhill Down.

Wendy Dennis is a member of the Bexhill Environmental Group, which led the wood planting project. She said: “It was a massive project that took a lot of pulling together to get the grants.

“It’s shocking really. I was spitting blood on Thursday.”

Wendy, who is also the coordinator of Bexhill Friends of the Down group, added:“I went down there quite early in the morning and then a group of us went down at 10am. We repaired it rather than leave it because we were worried about the trees dying and thought we could save the two that had been uprooted. We are talking trees that are only two or three feet high. Most of them are only just popping out of the plastic tubes.

“We were quite amazed at the resilience of them.

Trees vandalised on Bexhill Down.

“We replaced about 20-odd stakes. Some had been snapped, others just uprooted.”

A passerby witnessed the trees being vandalised at around 8pm on Thursday. The man challenged the vandals, who verbally abused him before fleeing the scene.

The 10-strong mixed-sex group were described as being aged just 12 or 13 years old.

Unfortunately, more stakes were damaged on Friday evening and another five broken stakes were discovered in the same area on Monday morning (April 12).

Wendy said: “I think they are just walking through and breaking them as they go through.

“I imagine it would be someone kicking or pushing them with their foot.”

She added: “Trees are so important and I do not think people realise how much pollution they take out of the air and how much oxygen they put back into the air.”

Wendy says she believes that antisocial behaviour on Bexhill Down has escalated in recent months, with reports of graffiti and youths throwing items at the pavilion.

The tree vandalism has been reported to Sussex Police.