Fury as vandals target Blows Down orchard

editorial image

Volunteers for the Community Orchard at the Wildlife Trust Blow’s Downs Nature Reserve are furious after the site has once again been damaged by vandals.

Five trees at the orchard, off Station Road, Dunstable, were damaged over the last weekend.

One of the trees was snapped off at the base and branches have been snapped off others.

A volunteer has attempted to graft back the stem of the most damaged tree and it is hoped it will survive.

The orchard was badly damaged in February of last year and there have been several further cases of vandalism, but this is the most serious episode since then, said a spokesman.

The Community Orchard was created in February 2015 when varieties of some of Bedfordshire’s rare and historic fruit trees were planted by local schoolchildren.

Volunteers have given up their time to maintain the area, cutting the grass, clearing dog mess etc. and the area has gradually been transformed into a pleasant amenity for local people to enjoy.

A spokesman said: “It was always recognised that the orchard would be vulnerable to vandalism, but it is so frustrating because the trees are not being allowed to mature – as soon as the trees begin to flourish they are setback each time.

“Who do these individuals think they are targeting? The orchard is for everyone, so the people who are hurt are not figures of authority but the public at large.

“Dispiriting though it is, the volunteers who give their time maintaining the orchard are determined not to be beaten by these wreckers because it’s the community who will be the loser.”