Royal forest

PUBLISHED: 16:48 10 July 2007 | UPDATED: 21:45 29 May 2010

IN RESPONSE to Ray Armstrong s letter (June 28) I wholeheartedly agree with the concerns he so eloquently expressed in his enthusiastic response to my own. That is, with the exception of the comments apropos my professional competence, obviously. Hatfiel

IN RESPONSE to Ray Armstrong's letter (June 28) I wholeheartedly agree with the concerns he so eloquently expressed in his enthusiastic response to my own.

That is, with the exception of the comments apropos my professional competence, obviously.

Hatfield Forest is a unique and enormously valuable resource, both in terms of nature conservation and the history of the countryside. Therefore, it requires incredibly sensitive management.

It is the last wooded royal Forest in England in which all components survive: deer, cattle, coppice-woods, pollards, scrub, timber trees, grassland and fen. It is the only place where one can step back into the Middle Ages to see, with a small effort of imagination, what a forest looked like in use.

So Ray is quite right to express his concern for the welfare of Hatfield Forest and the damage wreaked on it by the increase in harmful emissions that Stansted Airport expansion will undoubtedly bring; from both increased road and air traffic.

What I find extremely difficult to reconcile, then, is why The National Trust (who own the forest) would sanction a management regime, which at times, allows extensive road traffic to enter directly into the very heart of the forest, where it will do the most damage by adding to, and exacerbating the deleterious impact of existing harmful emissions.

Just for the record, the car park in question, contrary to Ray's observations, is fairly considerable in size and enjoys unrestricted access throughout most of the year.

Many visitors take advantage of this arrangement because of its proximity to the centre of the forest and the refreshment kiosk.

During busy periods the overflow from this car park invades the surrounding grassland, causing further, and often irreparable damage to this valuable habitat.

Tim Harrison MSc

Felsted

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