Letter: Thoughtless invasion of our woodlands

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The Independent Online
Sir: If indeed woodland is owned by the Forestry Commission, limited public access to land held in the public's name seems reasonable (letter, 4 November). However, many woodlands are not so owned: they are held on long leases from the real owners often on tiny rents (eg 10p per acre per year).

Often outsiders have been given shooting rights over these woods with no reference to the actual owners, and members of the public have brought their dogs, radios, motorbikes, guns, poachers, litter and horses to what might have been otherwise privately cultivated.

The long-term side-effects of commercial afforestation are severe; the acidification of soils and springs affects flora and fauna. Most of us want to return this land to its natural state of mixed deciduous woods with heathland stretches, to conserve it for generations to come.

The "right to roam" is a very questionable notion proffered by those who refuse to recognise some basic facts - that land is not primarily for the occasional recreation of casual users who have no responsibility for its care and upkeep.

L GREGORY

Norwich

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