Arson probe at Newmillerdam continues

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A conservation group is determined to replace part of an award-winning nature trail destroyed in a devastating fire.

Police are investigating a blaze at Newmillerdam which wrecked parts of Lawns Dike Trail, along with nine trees.

A viewing platform and 30m of wooden boardwalk were burnt at the £55,000 trail, which was created by the Friends of Newmillerdam Country Park.

The trail was opened in 2013 at a previously unused part of the park and was named Best New Build Environmental Project in 2014 by Wakefield Civic Society.

Jeff Stimpson, chairman of the friends’ group, said it would cost £8,000 for materials to repair the damage.

He said: “We’ve taken the decision that we are going to replace it, like for like.

“It was a good piece of work and should be replaced. Obviously we can’t afford it at the moment.

“We are not going to let this set back defeat us. We plan to replace it in the autumn-winter period.”

Police said they were investigating a complaint of criminal damage by fire and appealed for witnesses to contact them on 101.

A spokeswoman said: “It is thought to have happened at around 5am on Sunday, June 5.”

Wakefield Council said only a small section of the park was affected and Newmillerdam was still open.

Maureen Cummings, cabinet member for environment and communities, said: “Newmillerdam is a fantastic place to visit and much loved by people from right across the district.

“It is shocking that after all the hard work and effort by so many people to create the boardwalk and viewing platform that they’ve been so badly damaged by this fire.”