Clare park has a tract of wild wood where I love to walk the dogs, away from the regular paths. Few people know it, so I generally have it to myself, a place where the dogs can run among the trees and disturb nobody. In the summer, some people had decorated the trees with ribbons and laced woodwork, to make a magic grotto reminiscent of the woods around the Tor at Glastonbury, but the park rangers soon ripped it down.
Today I entered to find the foresters have been working to cut back the wilderness. Great iron caterpillars have gouged up the earth, tearing up the moss, bracken, snowdrops and early bluebells to leave muddy ruts that catch the feet and cling to the dogs paws and my shoes. They have cut back the undergrowth and cropped the trees, leaving great mess of broken branches and ripped up shrubs, blocking the intimate paths between the trees. What a wild mess the wood is. Wilderness is such a rare and precious amenity it should be encouraged, not pruned back. Soon there will be no wild areas left, and we shall all be the poorer for it.