‘Living history’ is killed by vandals at Brandon nature reserve

MHRA 05-07-11 BRANDON JUL04 (4)'Pictured is Stephen Trotter ( Chief Executive - Warwickshire Wildlife Trust ), at the remains of the educational centre, Brandon Marsh, burnt down by arsonists.
MHRA 05-07-11 BRANDON JUL04 (4)'Pictured is Stephen Trotter ( Chief Executive - Warwickshire Wildlife Trust ), at the remains of the educational centre, Brandon Marsh, burnt down by arsonists.
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ARSONISTS have destroyed a replica iron age roundhouse at a nature reserve.

Vandals set fire to the Brandon Marsh attraction on Saturday night.

The roundhouse, which was only two years old, had been constructed to provide an inspirational experience for children to learn about the history of people living in and around Warwickshire during the Roman period.

More than 600 children have already benefited from activities using the roundhouse.

Future visits involving 120 children have had to be cancelled.

Stephen Trotter, chief executive of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, said the damage was discovered by a visitor to the site.

He said: “This is mindless vandalism at its worst.

“The education and enjoyment of the many has been spoilt by a few selfish individuals.”

Mr Trotter, who took up his role last year, said the trust will now have to consider what to do next.

He added: “If we decide to rebuild the roundhouse, it’s likely to cost around £10,000 which we’ll need to find.”

The roundhouse took more than 1,000 hours of volunteer efforts to build in 2009, as well as using support from a professional thatcher and an archaeologist.

Warwickshire recycling company Valpak supplied materials and helped to fund the project.

The site is close to Lunt Roman Fort on the edge of Coventry and the Wildlife Trust has been working with Coventry City Council to offer a range of educational visits.

More than 600 school pupils have already benefited from activities at the roundhouse.

Vicky Worthington, senior education ranger at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, is similarly dismayed.

She said: “It’s really disappointing that the children will now miss out on the chance to learn about how our ancestors lived in ancient Britain.

“We were able to give them a wonderful hands-on experience of life in earlier times but that’s all gone now.”

If anyone has any information on who carried out this vandalism, contact the trust, the police on (01788) 541111 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.