At about 7am on Sunday 21st February, a LHM trustee, Sian Pettman, and her husband were on the Marshes early to enjoy a dramatic sunrise, but the orange glow that greeted them came from flames in the last stages of destroying the remaining section of the boardwalk.
In the early hours of 14th February last year an initial attack had destroyed the bulk of the boardwalk, but an unscathed section was retained, and a new pond excavated at the end of it so that visitors would be able to walk along the boardwalk and then peer down at a variety of pondlife. It is this short section which has just been burnt, but it wasn’t a critical piece of the site’s infrastructure, so the arsonist achieved absolutely nothing. Much of the melted plastic from the recycled material used in the boardwalk’s construction has already been cleared up, and as soon as the ground dries out we will bring in machinery to complete the process and return the land to pristine wet grassland.
Following the attacks last year, we already knew that someone didn’t Love Hambrook Marshes, so it wasn’t really necessary for presumably the same person to press the point home yet again. The attack was extremely upsetting for trustees and lovers of the Marshes, but the destruction of the boardwalk does nothing to dent the ethos of LHM. Adversity can make us stronger, and this setback will not deter us from maintaining the area for public enjoyment, while preserving wetland habitats for wildlife.