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Owners left devastated after arson attack at March Wood Project, Ashford

By Kristina Curtis

The owners of the March Wood Project in Ashford have been left devastated after 'mindless' vandals destroyed their woodland environment.

Mark Wood and Karen Little run the community project, which is between Hothfield and Bethersden, that provides programmes for children, adults and families to link education and therapy with nature.

The March Wood site, which provides lessons in construction, tool work, woodland protection and nature, was destroyed after vandals broke in and set the place on fire.

The community project site has been vandalised and set on fire

The community project site has been vandalised and set on fire

Mr Wood said: “I’m lost for words. This has happened completely out of the blue, it’s just mindless.

“On Sunday morning, we had a phone call from one of the neighbours saying that the front gate had been ripped off and was lying against a hedge.

“We went down there expecting a bit of vandalism but it’s all been burnt out.”

The scene of the vandalism

The scene of the vandalism

The vandals broke into each of the containers at the site, stealing all the valuable items which are used in the programmes, before setting fire to the buildings.

Mr Wood continued: “The barn we used as a classroom, and meant that we could keep the programme running all year round, has been burnt to the ground.

“It’s just mindless and unnecessary.

“It’s going to cost about £15,000 to rebuild the barn and then we need to replace all the equipment. Everything we owned was there on the site and now it’s gone.”

The woodland project was set alight

The woodland project was set alight

The owners are now looking for help or donations to replace all the stolen items, including archery equipment, gardening tools, pots and pans, educational books, woodland games, tents, sleeping bags and fishing gear.

“It’s been really overwhelming seeing people’s support and the offer response has been amazing," Mr Wood said.

“The groups will go ahead as usual - they will not beat us, we will rebuild and start again.”

A JustGiving page has been set up to help rebuild the project.

To visit the page, click here

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