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Plea to treat Old School Wood in Great Waldingfield with respect after equipment used by children's group vandalised




A plea to treat a community woodland with respect has been sounded, in response to escalating vandalism that has resulted in the destruction of children's play equipment.

Four mud kitchens used by forest school and toddler groups at the Old School Wood in Great Waldingfield were smashed to pieces earlier this month – the latest in a series of incidents reported over the last two years.

The first set of broken equipment was discovered at the start of a toddler session on Friday, July 16, before more was founded on Thursday morning.

Vandalised equipment at the Old School Wood in Great Waldingfield. Contributed picture. (49595924)
Vandalised equipment at the Old School Wood in Great Waldingfield. Contributed picture. (49595924)

Branchlines, the community organisation that looks after the Old School Wood, has urged those responsible to be more considerate of others using the woodland.

Amy Ward, who runs the weekly Little Acorns group, told the Free Press: "This has been going on for two years. It affects my ability to run my sessions.

"We've had our log seats thrown in the pond, we've had signs torn down, there have been cigarette butts left behind, but this is by far the worst damage we've ever had.

Little Acorns group at the Old School Wood in Great Waldingfield. Contributed picture. (49595915)
Little Acorns group at the Old School Wood in Great Waldingfield. Contributed picture. (49595915)

"It's frustrating because I can't leave anything up there. If I do, it would be smashed up and littered everywhere.

"The mud kitchens are one of the favourite things the kids love doing. They love making mixtures, especially the toddlers. Last Friday, the children turned up and they couldn't play.

"I just want people to treat the woodland with respect. Come and use the space and hang out with your friends, but don't damage things that are left for the younger children to use.

Vandalised equipment at the Old School Wood in Great Waldingfield. Contributed picture. (49595918)
Vandalised equipment at the Old School Wood in Great Waldingfield. Contributed picture. (49595918)

"We really look after that place to try and make it special. We don't mind kids using it, but just don't trash it while they're up there."

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