Hotel comes to rescue after vandals destroyed nature-reserve trees

Nature reserve officer Graham Bowden (right) with staff from the hotel.
Nature reserve officer Graham Bowden (right) with staff from the hotel.

Staff at a hotel have come to the rescue after vandals damaged trees at a nature reserve near Retford.

The vandals snapped and destroyed several Cricket Bat Willow trees at the Idle Valley Nature Reserve, operated by the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust charity.

The trees had been planted in the spring of 2016 to help generate income for the charity’s conservation work, with a view to them being turned into cricket bats.

It was all part of a corporate social responsibilty initiative, called ‘Save Tomorrow’s Trees Today’, run by Nottingham’s Park Plaza Hotel.

The vandalism broke the hearts of trust officials, but now the hotel has stepped in to help and agreed to pay for replacement trees.

Thanks to the company’s generosity and the efforts of their staff, the trees have been replanted in a new location that vandals are unlikely to get to.

The trust’s head of communications, Erin McDaid, said: “I was devastated when many of the trees were vandalised.

“I had been part of the team that secured the backing of Park Plaza Hotels and resorts for the project, and I had personally supervised the original planting.

“The company showed real vision and commitment in helping us invest in the future of the reserve, so it was a huge relief when they immediately agreed to fund the replacement trees.”

Idle Valley is the wildlife trust’s largest nature reserve in the county.

The trust’s northern reserves officer, Graham Bowden, was helped by staff from the city centre hotel with the replanting of the specially grown and selected trees. It is hoped that they will grow into a valuable crop.

Erin added: “As a charity, it is important for us to look for ways to generate income to invest in our work, so we were delighted that Park Plaza saw the benefit of this exciting project.

“It’s great that, thanks to the company’s support, we are now back on track with it.”

Speaking on behalf od Park Plaza Hotels and Resorts, general manager Robert Watts said: “It has been a pleasure to work with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust over the past few years, and to see the continuous hard work they put in to the local nature reserves.

“The team here at Park Plaza Nottingham always enjoy a day out volunteering, and I’m pleased our efforts in planting the willow trees will have such an impact on the charity’s conservation work in the local community.”

The wildlife trust manages nature reserves throughout the county, and advises local councils, community groups and landowners on nature conservation issues.