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Vandals wreak havoc at Tolkein beauty spot

Bronze Age mound that inspired the author suffers major damage

Moseley Bog Reserve Officer Francesca Jarvis-Rouse and Wildlife Trust Birmingham & Black Country Chairman Jack Wilson with one of the broken signs

Vandals have wreaked havoc at a Birmingham beauty spot said to have inspired JRR Tolkien.

Thugs caused £3,000-worth of damage at Moseley Bog, destroying new signs and ripping a post out of a Bronze Age mound listed as an ancient scheduled monument.

Tolkien, who lived in Birmingham as a child, used to play at the site. He hailed it as the inspiration for the “old forest” setting his Hobbit characters travelled through in the Lord of the Rings.

Staff from Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust, which runs the nature reserve, said they were “devastated” by the vandalism at the site, which will launch new audio tours, recorded by the Birmingham Rep, on Sunday.

Moseley Bog reserves officer Francesca Jarvis-Rouse said: “It’s really upsetting and impossible to understand.

“It will cost us a few thousands pounds to replace what’s been destroyed.”

Recent improvements to the site, including restoring hedgerows, managing meadows, and adding boardwalks, steps and pathways, were last year found to be worth more than £1 million to the economy.

Most of the vandalised signs were erected less than a year ago.

The Trust called in an archaeologist to assess the damage to an ancient scheduled monument after the vandals uprooted a sign from a burnt mound dating back to the Bronze Age.

Francesca said: “Three thousand years ago people came here to build fires with hot stones on before moving the hot stones into a sauna to have a steam bath.

“That has left a mound of burnt stones, charcoal and other remnants that has been protected by law.

“This is our flagship site and it’s devastating.

“You just can’t understand people who maliciously damage things just for the sake of it.

“It’s mindless.”

The Trust has alerted the police to the vandal attack.

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