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‘Dangerous’ barbed-wire fencing goes up in Hainault Forest

PUBLISHED: 16:19 23 January 2017 | UPDATED: 16:19 23 January 2017

Brian Ecott, left, and Raymond Small by some barbed wire fencing - they feel it is very dangerous to children and has only recently gone up. Picture by Ellie Hoskins

Brian Ecott, left, and Raymond Small by some barbed wire fencing - they feel it is very dangerous to children and has only recently gone up. Picture by Ellie Hoskins

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Two nature lovers have called into question the decision to erect “dangerous” barbed wire fencing in a popular forest.

A large ditch reported as dangerous to the Woodland Trust 12 months ago by Brian Ecott and Raymond Small.  Picture by Ellie HoskinsA large ditch reported as dangerous to the Woodland Trust 12 months ago by Brian Ecott and Raymond Small. Picture by Ellie Hoskins

The Woodland Trust notified Hainault Forest Country Park users, via a poster in December, that it intended to erect temporary cattle fencing to encourage conservation grazing.

But regular trampers, Raymond Small, 58, of Huntsman Road, Hainault, and Brian Ecott, 80, of Clayhall, say the fencing is dangerous.

“It’s bad,” said Mr Small.

“This can easily snag skin and clothing if approached. The wire is not very high so an even worse scenario would be if a child fell and lost eyesight.”

The two men also reported an overhanging ditch 12 months ago but say it has not been addressed by the Trust. “It’s possible to walk nearby and not know there is only a few inches of earth underfoot which could easily crumble away and cause a fall,” continued Mr Small.

“It’s still in the same nefarious state. This comes into conflict with [the Trust’s] duty of care to not place people in danger. I’m also concerned that elderly and disabled visitors using mobility scooters and wheelchairs to enjoy the forest will be denied entry to some paths because access will be blocked by new gates and fences.”

Site manager for the forest, off Romford Road, Hainault, Nathan Fall said: “The fences should not pose a danger to visitors and should enable us to manage and restore the woods in the best possible way.”

Parts of the forest are ancient wood-pasture, and provide valuable habitats for animals and foliage. Mr Fall continued: “These are best restored by grazing cattle. The new gates and fencing have been created to stop the cattle from breaking out into other parts of the wood, and protect these areas from off-road bikers.” A Woodland Trust spokeswoman apologised for the hole, but said it had not been informed about the issue.

Barbed wire fencing that has gone up in Hainault Forest. Picture by Ellie HoskinsBarbed wire fencing that has gone up in Hainault Forest. Picture by Ellie Hoskins

But Mr Ecott added: “It is a waste of time because the cattle don’t go over there because of the brambles. Cattle don’t eat bramble. They are [The Woodland Trust] destroying a wildlife habitat and for what?”


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