Thursday, 17 October 2019

‘Private property’ signs in woodland vandalised

‘Private property’ signs in woodland vandalised

VANDALS have damaged signs asking horse riders and cyclists not to abuse woodland near Henley.

Dan Remenyi and John Hill, who between them own 45 acres of Lambridge Wood, say people stray from the bridleway and professional dog walkers sometimes come with several animals at a time.

The men, who bought the land in 2011, installed four large signs on posts informing walkers that the land is private property and that they should keep to the public footpaths.

But three of the aluminium and plastic signs were snapped and have had to be repaired.

The men have reported the vandalism to the police and are now considering installing cameras in case of more attacks.

They first raised their concerns in November, saying the woodland was being “wrecked” by irresponsible horse riders, cyclists and dog walkers.

Now they say the problem is just as bad. The owners say they have no objection to visitors enjoying the area but expect them to behave responsibly and are concerned about the deterioration of the footpaths and the impact on wildlife — the woodland is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Mr Remenyi, from Kidmore End, said: “It’s being treated as a public park rather than a private wood. We get cyclists and horse riders on the footpaths, which is not allowed.

“We’re not trying to stop people being on the footpaths, we just want them to keep to them.”

The signs were installed in early August but one was damaged just two weeks later followed by two others last month. Signs installed by the Chiltern Society have also been damaged.

Mr Hill, who lives in nearby Broadplat, said: “Whoever did it, they must have been fairly strong or there were two of them.

“A few weeks ago I was in my garden when we had 12 motorbikes in the wood and on top of that we have got all the cyclists and dog walkers.

“The woods are not supposed to be ridden in — they can be walked in, yes. I’ve got no quibbles about people walking and respecting it but what I don’t like is people coming with dogs.

“There’s about 30 or 40 deer in this wood at any one time. They are okay if they are not disturbed by dogs.”

He said the deer were easily panicked and got caught in barbed wire trying to escape.

Mr Remenyi said: “I am disappointed but John is much more upset — he lives right next door. I think part of the problem is this piece of woodland had been neglected for many years and when we bought it we began to take an interest in it, as did the Chiltern Society who helped us lay out the paths.

“The police are just not interested in the trespass issue so we’re looking at putting up cameras. If we have photographs the police say they will prosecute.

“John is of the view that the problem is at least as bad as before and I’m much the same.

“Certainly I was very surprised to see the signs being vandalised so quickly and then being repeatedly vandalised a second and third time. It’s very annoying.

“We were hoping to get more support from Natural England and the Forestry Commission.”

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