The fragile historic Boat House at Stockgrove Park has been vandalised to the dismay of users of the Heath and Reach beauty spot.
Walker and regular visitor to Stockgrove, Terry Warburton stumbled across the damage to the focal point of the lake last week.
He told the LBO: “The old boat house, popular with most visitors who stop to climb the steps to a terrace and look at the fish or the ducks. But it seems to be increasingly popular with another kind of visitor, bent on destruction.
“A visit showed a substantial wall had been damaged, with heavy stones kicked onto the footpath.
“Steps to the lake had also had unwanted attention; the light fence had been prised off (again) and dumped in the water, along with its wooden supports. One of the Greensand way markers also floated amongst the debris which included an array of tins, bottles and crisp packets.
“Worse still, a few weeks ago the boathouse was draped by the ropes attached to lifesavers removed from the nearby cabinets put there for emergency use. Across the lake another lifesaver was strewn on the path and abandoned.
“The temptation to explore offered by the boathouse is understandable, especially to young people, but wilfully to damage or spoil it for others is less easy to comprehend.
“Most people using our country parks appreciate the work of the staff and volunteers and will share the frustration they must feel having to deal constantly with such mindless vandalism.
“I hope they will not be discouraged and that users will continue to support them to maintain these precious assets for all the community to enjoy.”
Stockgrove is part of Rushmere Country Park and is run by local environmental charity The Greensand Trust.
A spokesman said: “Mindless vandalism to any part of the park adds to the workload of our small team.
“Our band of volunteers give us their time to put something back into their local community, and this incident puts additional pressure on our limited resources.
“The Boat House is a fragile historic structure which we hope to restore in the future and we’d urge our visitors to heed the warnings on signage at the site and avoid venturing close to the water.”