Anger over lack of care for woodland

DOG walkers today hit out over a lack of care for an ancient woodland which is enjoyed by hundreds of people every week.Users of The Grove on the edge of Felixstowe say the 15-acre site only sees maintenance rarely - and its ditches are blocked, paths not looked after, and one wooden slat bridge is now so dangerous it cannot be used by mums with pushchairs or disabled people.

DOG walkers today hit out over a lack of care for an ancient woodland which is enjoyed by hundreds of people every week.

Users of The Grove on the edge of Felixstowe say the 15-acre site only sees maintenance rarely - and its ditches are blocked, paths not looked after, and one wooden slat bridge is now so dangerous it cannot be used by mums with pushchairs or disabled people.

Youngsters have been using part of the wood as a rifle target range - and the area is regularly found littered with glass bottles, with targets hanging from trees.

Richard Lord, who with his wife Val regularly uses the wood to walk their dog, said it was sad to see the wood in such a poor state.

He said: “I think it is a great shame - generations have enjoyed using this wood and with a little care and maintenance it could be a great place for future generations to use, too.

“There is litter strewn everywhere, and the dog bins are not emptied as regularly as they should be - the bags pile up around the bins and then youngsters throw them into the trees and you can see poo bags just hanging everywhere sometimes.”

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The biggest point of concern was the wooden slat walkway which goes across a wet marshy area. The wooden piles had worn away and the path had sunk in places making it very uneven.

Mr Lord of St Andrew's Road, Felixstowe said: “We bring a person through here in a wheelchair but there is no way we can get across there now for fear of tipping the person out of the chair.

“Mums with buggies and young children cannot use it either because it is so dangerous.”

A Suffolk Coastal spokesman said it was the first complaint about problems at the Grove and the council had taken action immediately.

He said: “We have cleared up the litter and also the broken glass, and also found an empty air rifle box. The broadwalk is regularly monitored and is due to be replaced in the autumn. It is not unsafe, although clearly it is a bit damaged at one end which is why it will need replacing. At that time we will also be clearing up the pond.

“The Grove is a popular area for people of all ages, and every now and again over the years we do have problems caused by groups of children. Our anti-social behaviour officer is now looking at what can be done, but we would also ask the many visitors to the Grove to play their part by letting us know of any problems as and when they see them, and if they are serious to call the police.”

What do you think of the state of The Grove? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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