Photoessay: The Desolation of Dorridge Park

SMBC Notice of Work

SMBC Notice of Work

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council (SMBC), using a grant from the European Union, have been performing “tree thinning” at my local nature reserve which is part of Dorridge Park.  The work was carried out over a period of just under two weeks in February.  During this time the contractors closed off the woodland area where the tree thinning was taking place for safety reasons.  As a result it was difficult to see exactly what was happening behind the roped off areas however it was interesting to see the large number of neatly piled up logs that were being lined up along the pathways, awaiting removal and sale by the contractors.

It was only after the woodland area was reopened to the public that the true devastation wreaked by the contractors could be seen.  Large areas made completely devoid of trees;  pathways that once meandered through a pleasant woodland area rendered virtually impassable by deep, sticky mud; trees felled but not cleared; waste bins left upturned with rubbish and bags of dog excrement falling out; water flooding over paths because it is no longer stopped by trees  and bird nesting boxes hanging off trees.  The whole area has been left completely desolate looking, more like something from a First World War battlefield than a nature reserve with birds singing and wild flowers and animals.

Overturned Bins Spilling Out Rubbish

Overturned Bins Spilling Out Rubbish

A Muddy Clearing

A Muddy Clearing

Discarded Contractors Equipment

Discarded Contractors Equipment

Uncollected Logs and Chopped Down Tree

Uncollected Logs and Chopped Down Tree

A New Clearing!

A New Clearing!

What Used to be a Path

What Used to be a Path

A Broken Up Tree

A Broken Up Tree

What Used to be a Tree Laden Path

What Used to be a Tree Laden Path

No Birds Live Here Any Longer

No Birds Live Here Any Longer

Water Soaked Pathway

Water Soaked Pathway

Solihull Council have replied to a number of concerns with this statement: “Now the felling and extraction is complete the contractor is in the process of repairing the damage caused by site traffic or otherwise consequent upon the works.”

It will be interesting to see if this does happen, how long it takes and what the wood finally looks like.  I’d also be interested to know if an EU grant will be forthcoming to aid with the damage repair.  Let’s hope SMBC get their application in before March 2019 if that’s what they plan to do.

Tellingly SMBC also responded to my tweet saying they will be “putting in place additional measures based on our experience and observations”.  It would appear this is not the only park to have suffered a similar fate at the hands of contractors but let’s hope it is the last.

 

 

2 comments

  1. Karen Humby says:

    I Can’t say I ‘Like’ it but I totally agree with your photoessay, the solihull website describes the woodland as having ancient oak, ash and beech! All we have now is deep muddy tracks where bluebells once flowered! I had no reply to my email to the council… they have no idea!

    • Peter Cripps says:

      Yes indeed it is a mess. I believe there was a meeting a couple of weeks ago to address concerns which I could not make. They have started to fix up the main path but the wood itself is now sadly lost for a generation I fear.

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