Suspected tree vandalism 'sad and frustrating'

Steph James standing by the community trees in Sapley Park
Steph James thanked local people for "keeping an eye" on the trees planted by volunteers [John Devine/BBC]

Volunteers have been trying to salvage scores of young trees that were flattened in a public park.

The community group Wild About Huntingdon planted 420 saplings in the town's Sapley Park Playing Fields in mid-February.

Steph James, who runs the group, said it was "sad and frustrating" that many of the trees had been destroyed.

Huntingdonshire District Council, which provided the saplings, said it would continue to take care of the trees as they grew.

A spokesperson for the council said: "Our arboriculture team will visit once a week throughout the summer to water the trees, put the tree guards back on, keep the grass short and clear the area of litter."

Wild About Huntingdon said about 100 trees had been knocked down but that they could not be sure how many were damaged.

"We anticipated that a football would knock a tree down, but this isn't football," said Steph. "It's somebody who's gone along and flattened them."

Volunteers planted a variety of native species including hawthorn, oak and rowan.

"My one-year-old grandson was at the planting event, and we hoped that in 20 years' time he could go back and see them," she added.

"I don't think we should let the actions of a few thoughtless people stop us from planting more trees around Huntingdon in the future."

'Keeping an eye'

Image of the saplings in Sapley Park in Huntingdon
Wild About Huntingdon estimated about 100 trees had been flattened [Steph James]

The group hopes the project will still be a success as the district council advised them to over-plant the saplings.

"Hopefully there will be some that meet maturity," Steph said.

She thanked members of the community for "keeping your eye" on the trees and standing them back up where necessary.

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