Yesterday, as I sat in my study finishing off some work, my wife called me into the lounge to look out the window. She and my two young children stood transfixed as black, billowing clouds of smoke drifted over our back garden. It was clear where it was coming from: the nature reserve close to our house.
Tragically, someone (or some group) had decided to set fire to the bird hide on the end of a jetty that goes out into the pond. By the time I’d called the fire brigade and got down there, all that the steadily-increasing group of concerned onlookers could do was watch as fierce flames consumed the wooden structure.
I overheard, but have not had confirmation, that the bird hide was doused in petrol before being set alight. In the end, the firefighters put out the fire and knocked down the hide. All that’s left are some wooden stumps.
My reason for writing about this is merely, at this stage, to document that it happened. I’m not sure who did it, nor why they did so, but feel sad that it happened. All my five year-old son asked yesterday was “Why would they do that, Daddy?” I didn’t know how to answer him but encouraged him to draw the picture at the top of this post to let out some of his emotions.
The nature reserve was opened last year after a community group secured National Lottery funding to transform the space. It’s a beautiful space within which to walk in this usually peaceful village. My children used to enjoy peeking through the windows in the bird hide.
Not any more.