Vandals have attacked the information trig point at the famous Coombe Hill beauty spot- destroying the structure and stealing the brass information plaque.
The trig point and its ‘toposcope’ is used by walkers to navigate the view at the popular area of natural beauty - and the plaque points out key landmarks including Chequers, the Dunstable Downs and on a clear day even The Cotswolds.
Cows have recently started grazing again at the site, but are not responsible for the extensive damage.
The nearby monument - which is in honour of Buckinghamshire men who fought and died in the Boer War was unaffected. Today National Trust countryside manager Neil Harris said that fundraising will be required to restore the trig point to it’s former glory.
He said: “I was alerted to the destruction of the trig point at Coombe Hill by a member of the public a couple of days ago. We immediately went up to Coombe Hill to see if we could recover the toposcope (the brass orientation plate on the top of the pillar displaying notable landscape features) Unfortunately, it had been stolen.
“I’m saddened by the theft of the toposcope, which was added by the National Trust in the late 1950s. The trig point has always been a draw for walkers who come to see the view and for nearly 70 years the toposcope has shown them the sights they can see from this vantage point. There’s an amazing view over Aylesbury Vale and on a clear day you can see as far as the Cotswolds.
“I also think back to those early pioneer map-makers of the early 20th century who built the trig pillars as bases for their theodolites. They had to carry all the building materials up the hills themselves. In tribute to them, and to all the people who enjoy walking up to the Coombe Hill trig point, we’d like to move on from this theft and vandalism.
“The former trig pillar was not as accessible as we would have liked and the Chilterns Countryside ranger team have been thinking about how we can make Coombe Hill trig point even better. Should we could continue the all-weather path to that point for buggy and wheelchair users, should we create a tactile landscape map for the vision impaired?
“We’d like to hear people’s thoughts for re-building so that we can begin fundraising. People can send us their ideas by email to email@example.com”