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Stokesley chairmen clash over Crow Wood

Then in 1968 - A blistering row has broken out in Stokesley after it was revealed that the 100-year-old Crow Wood, covering three acres of Stokesley show field is to be felled.
Members of the recently formed Stokesley Society, are calling it an act of vandalism and are appealing to show officials to think again. But Col. H. E. Kitching chairman of Stokesley Agricultural Society, has described it as a nasty little wood that should have been felled a long time ago.
Protesters are now seeking to place a preservation order on the trees. Problems arose for the Stokesley show officials when the local by-pass was driven through part of the show field, effectively isolating an area used for sheep dog trials. Rather than have spectators crossing the busy road, the Society is looking to the Crow Wood site to provide the extra space. To back their decision they point to a report by the district officer of the Forestry Commission at Helmsley which confirmed that from an economic point of view, the wood should be felled.
But John Owens, secretary of the Stokesley Society claimed that show officials had misled the public by quoting only part of the report which went on to say that although the wood had suffered from a lack of thinning, there was no evidence to suggest there is anything organically wrong with the trees which should grow healthily for many years.
Local artist Mr. Alec Wright claimed Stokesley Show was only a one day a year event, “The public would like to enjoy the wood for the other 364 days” and another resident, Mr. Martin Simons, felt it would be a crying shame to sacrifice the wood because of the motor car. Eighty seven year old Miss J. B. Normington said the field had been given to the town by the late Mr. J. P. Sowerby a well known barrister, “He would have been as distressed as I am at the thought of the wood coming down.”
The row continued apace, and in a TV interview Col. Kitching blamed the media for stirring up a nasty little scandal in the town. “This wood is certainly not a thing of beauty, and should have been felled long ago. “This is our wood and we can do what we like with it.”
He has called in the lumberjacks and the felling of Crow Wood has begun.
Now in 1998 -
The Crow Wood site today providing additional space for the Show’s varied events.

This article originally appeared in the November 1998 issue of Now & Then Magazine