Sadly we received a serious graffiti attack on the Pulhamite rock work, we believe on Friday 1st February or sometime on Saturday morning 2nd February 2019.
After it was reported on Saturday afternoon by a responsible Nature Reserve walker, the busy local Police Neighbourhood Team responded and were on site at 11.30 pm (in the middle of a Saturday night!) photographing the damage and starting to make their plans. The following morning they attended the site again with the volunteer leaders, and collected evidence. The volunteers secured the site with tape.
Because of the nature of the offensive writing the local Police were intent on removing the graffiti immediately, but fortunately they learned in time about the delicate nature of the Pulhamite rock work, and on Sunday 3rd February they arranged instead to have the worst parts (in and around the grotto) covered by tarpaulins as a temporary measure.
The local community on Social Media (Welwyn Village News) were rightly offended about the damage, and sympathetic to all the work put in on this site since 2015 by the Friends of Danesbury, and other supporting volunteer groups. Very kindly, and with admirable public spirit, they were ready to organise a party to help urgently scrub the stone work clean. But this was not possible and they are instead being encouraged to help in the broader sense by joining our work parties.
The Executive of the Welwyn Hatfield Council have this morning decreed that the graffiti should be cleaned off as a matter of urgency. Ann MacDonald (Manager of the Landscape & Ecology Department) has already taken expert advice on the specialist task of removing the black spray-paint graffiti from the sensitive Pulhamite stonework, and is awaiting an early response from recommended contractors. No doubt we will have a clearer picture quite soon of the degree of restoration difficulty, and likely costs.
We have to remain positive that something good might come out of all this.
The Council are now firmly aware of the need to take longer term measures to either prevent this from happening again or, at least, to monitor the site better. And we might expect to learn more about those measures soon.