‘Heartbreak’ over vandalism to forest school and allotments in Dane Valley

Damage at the forest school

Kent Police officers are making enquiries following vandalism at Bright Start Community Forest School and allotments at Dane Valley.

CCTV caught five youngsters carrying out the damage on Tuesday. The boys can be seen throwing tools around after breaking into allotment sheds.

At the forest school bamboo, tarpaulin and cables were damaged.

The forest school is based on one acre of former landfill area in Dane Valley. The entire 13 acre site has been turned into a young woodland with some 6000 trees planted by Dane Valley Woods group volunteers over the last two decades.

The forest school has recently undergone refurbishment under the lead of project manager Michael Sturman, with the installation of new shelters and a compost loo and the site being cleared  for allotment space.

Bright Start Nurseries, run by dad-of-four Marc Rattigan, took over the site from the Thanet Community Forest School last September and is planning to use the area to teach children about sustainability, ecology, conservation and the environment while opening up the school site to all ages in the community.

The rest of the woodland site is open for public access with volunteers mowing hundreds of metres of pathways to allow people easy access around the site.

The woods group has also installed benches, meadows and sculptures across the woodland area,

Marc said: “It’s heartbreaking for us when we are trying to build up a community project that has been hindered with finances due to covid and we are then having to spend funds to replaced damaged items. I also feel for the allotment holders that use the place as a haven during this pandemic just to have had their sites trashed.”

A Kent Police spokesperson said: “Kent Police received a report of criminal damage to a forest school site in Dane Valley Woods, which is believed to have occurred sometime between 6pm on 22 February and 8am on 24 February. Tarpaulin, cables and some bamboo were reportedly broken along with a bucket. Enquiries remain ongoing.”


  1. Wait for the cries of “ because of Covid the poor kids are suffering and have got nothing to do – not their fault really “ I bet the are never brought to account.

  2. IF they are caught, they should be made to assist with the repairs and have to do a set number of hours assisting in the future. Perhaps if they become interested, they will have a different attitude.
    Sorry that this has happened Marc and other allotment holders and I do hope you are soon able to make the necessary repairs to continue in this worthwhile project.

  3. If these morons could be whipped for the upset they cause other’s they would never want to commit vandalism again. It’s because they are not punished that they do the damage again and again. There really needs to be something done about the security on those allotments and a reward offered to catch those responsible.

  4. Curious, why doesn’t this story describe Marc Rattigan as the Conservative Councillor Rattigan for Cliffsend and Pegwell?

  5. Additionally, Bright Start Nurseries is a childcare business owned by Marc, the Director. Marc is a very successful business man who runs successful businesses not community projects. I’m certain his other businesses have ample security and insurance and have also been financially impacted by Covid, this is a particularly vulnerable spot and could benefit from investment in security measures to avoid the impact it may have on the future of this enterprise.

  6. If there is CCTV of 5 kids then why not publish it in case somebody can identify them? I am sure they will be local if kids.

    • I think the cctv footage has been put on Facebook. I hope they catch the evil little so and so’s, and if I found out it was one of my grandchildren, I’d turn them in myself!!

  7. Frankly I expect the Police will do nothing to discipline these Children. Youngsters are Riding Quads and Motor Bikes and Bicycles through Tivoli Woods time and again with them taking not action against the Youngsters involved. The Environment and protecting it is very low on the Polices Priorities and local politicians though they all present themselves as Green and Caring. When they stop Dreamland being developed and stop building more properties on Fsrmland; and stop Thanet Earth building more unregulated Factories housing God knows what? I might believe them. Till them we will all have to “cultivate our own gardens.”

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