LETTER: Woodland - The battle of Walesby Wood

Historians that read this publication will, no doubt, be fully aware that many hundreds of years ago visitors from Scandinavia swarmed over the North Sea and raped and pillaged their way across England’s forgotten county that is Lincolnshire.

I thought I would like to highlight another battle that has taken place a lot closer to home, that of ‘The Battle of Walesby Wood’

The battle of Walesby wood took place in the mild winter of 2014, late January, early February. The strong stout defenders of the wood took on the might of mans mechanical army lead by the Forestry Commission.

These defenders of nature protected the natural habitats of the area for many a year. Animal runs, birds and insects not to forget the deer hides as well. Always dependable and even provided shelter from the elements for many a walker, the writer included.

It all began on a bleak February morn before daybreak. The ‘FC’ and its army of heavy plant and machinery camped just off the A46 Caistor Road and, upon orders, entered what can now only be described as the battlefield.

They showed no stealth, not that they has to rely upon this. The mighty weight and power they came with showed no intention of any mercy being given. The defenders standing against them, armed only with twigs and branches, bravely stared into the jaws of imminent death.

The FC first sent in infantry in the form of man armed with chainsaw to hack at the limbs and twigs leaving the brave soldier with no way of fending off the nest wave that sawed away at their strong torsos, cutting them down with consummate ease.

As these proud soldiers hit the ground, they were pounced on and hacked, some in two, some more so.

Their remains left on the ground to act as a deterrent to others of the futility of preservation. Now defenceless, the natural habitat of the woods was left to its own fates. What was once a lovely walk passed rhododendrons in season has been obliterated, the bushes flattened and destroyed.

One wonders if we will ever hear the cuckoo again this spring.

Huge machines, some armed with chains moved grotesquely over the remains, burning and scarring the land as they crossed it, grappling and hauling off the remains to be displayed, almost as trophies to anyone that chose to bear witness.

Dozens, possibly hundreds of these brave protectors slaughtered where they stood, unable to protect themselves from the might of man.

The writer knows he will never see the like of these environmental soldiers in Walesby woodland again, other may follow in their footsteps over time, but he will not see them.

With the mist clearing and smell of battle beginning to fade, this writer stands and looks out over what once was a healthy beautiful plantation of trees that embraced all who spent time in their company, whether walking dogs or simply enjoying the hot summer afternoons.

The empty space is now looking very desolate and huge swathes of the land and paths have been churned by heavy vehicles. This battle will not go down in the history books of the county but needs to be recalled, lest we forget.

Steve Hine