The bird hide and bird feeding station were put up in the woodland behind the school about 10 years ago, for the benefit both of our winged population and those of us who enjoyed watching them. Over the years, there have been occasional bits of minor damage and we have happily repaired these. Accidents happen. Extensive repairs to restore a somewhat aging structure were carried out by one of the woodland volunteers – at his own expense – very recently.
On Friday, we found the woodland hide had been damaged with considerable viciousness and beyond reasonable repair – a minority of the structure being left undamaged. I feel certain that strangers would not bother to walk so far through the woodland in the hope of finding a structure that they could wreck and so, regrettably, I think it likely that the damage has been done by people who live amongst us. There seems little or no point in the Trustees restoring something that one or two of our community are determined to ruin for the rest and so, with considerable regret, the woodland Trustees intend to remove what remains, salvage what wood can be salvaged and re-instate the ground. The feeding of our feathered friends will continue and there still remains the equivalent hide on the school field, so that the children can watch the birds during break and lunch times if they choose to do so.
We find the whole episode very sad. We live in a lovely, peaceful Cheshire village which has the (possibly unique) benefit of its own community-owned woodland within the village boundaries. The benefits that the woodland provides to the community were clearly demonstrated during the pandemic and, since it belongs to all of us, we would have hoped (I nearly said expected) that it would be cared for and looked after. What a tragedy it is that there are those amongst us who take evident delight in smashing up things that are provided for the enjoyment of everyone! The Police have been informed of the event and have promised to be vigilant.
However, Trustees are in no mood to be vindictive and the idea of prosecuting anyone is a long way from our minds. Instead, we feel that Tarvin, as a village, ought to be able to do something to prevent such a thing happening again – because someone, somewhere knows who it was who did this. Our ideal solution would be for that person to have a word with the culprit(s) to try to point out to them the error of their ways. This may be a rather naïve point of view and I know that there are people who believe that such an approach has little or no chance of success, but it is important that the things that belong to all of us – the many community assets around our village – need to be looked after by all of us, so that they will be there for any of us to use when we wish to do so. With that in mind, the rest of the community needs to keep a watchful eye on all of the everyday things in the village around us. We must not let one or two misguided souls spoil the things of our lovely village for the rest of us – just so that they can have a moment's "fun". Their "enjoyment" is not more important than ours.