The destruction of nine young saplings in the community orchard on Kinneil Estate has sparked a storm of comment on social media.
Yesterday the group Friends of Kinneil voiced disgust at the damage, which saw nearly half of the orchard’s trees deliberately snapped off just as they were beginning to mature.
The planting of the orchard in 2016 involved children from both Deanburn and Kinneil Primary Schools, other local volunteers including the Friends, and dedicated people in a range of partner organisations.
These included Falkirk Parks, Central Scotland Green Network Trust, Forth Valley Orchards (a former initiative of Forth Environment Link ), Inner Forth Landscape, Historic Environment Scotland and others.
Now a decision will have to be made on whether to start from scratch - possibly with the risk of the same kind of wanton vandalism taking place again.
The incident also raises questions about how valuable community heritage assets can be protected at a time when the council is looking to cut millions from the budget of Falkirk Community Trust.
In an involved ongoing debate over future funding and management it has been suggested the management of some local resources should be left to local groups - like Friends of Kinneil.
The trees in question were specifically intended to replicate the fruit-growing trees developed at Kinneil in the 18th century, giving visitors a first hand idea of local life in centuries gone by.
Commenting on Facebook, one woman wrote: “I was with the Deanburn pupils planting these trees. I am saddened that mindless actions have ruined what would have been a lovely addition to Kinneil grounds. Hope that what’s left can be rescued - and left alone to thrive.”
Another said: “My son planted one of those trees and we often went to see how it was growing”.
Maria Ford added: “I am so angry as I was the one to seek funding for the Orchard.
“Like many of the children and adults we watched these trees grow.
“We hoped to make juice etc, and even if people picked the fruits and ate them this was fine - but to snap them.
“There are no words to express this vandalism”.
Respondee Kelly Paterson added: “This makes me angry. People spent time and made memories doing this, they wanted to see them grow and produce fruit for future generations. What’s wrong with people? There’s just no need for this at all. Poor kids who helped plant them will be gutted.
“Should put all the energy they have into doing something useful and stop destroying things in Bo’ness! Trying to make the place better - and these losers just tear it down.
“I really hope you find out who did it. They should pay for it. Might need to get cctv installed along Kinneil on the house to overlook the trees and church”.