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'Untold damage' caused by anti-social behaviour at Bucks beauty spots

Sites like College Lake & Weston Turville Reservoir have seen littering, unauthorised swimming & BBQs.

Published by Dan Gooding at 11:44am 5th June 2020. 4-minute read.

'Untold damage' caused by anti-social behaviour at Bucks beauty spots

From unauthorised swimming, to camp fires and piles of litter, Buckinghamshire beauty spots have seen a spike in anti-social behaviour.

The Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust say they are 'saddended and angered' by what people have done at sites like Weston Turville Reservoir, College Lake and Calvert Jubilee.

They are worried about the wildlife at these protected sites, saying 'untold damage' could be caused.

Senior Land Manager for Buckinghamshire, Mark Vallance, says:

"I have just come back from our Calvert Jubilee nature reserve and was shocked by what I saw.

"A large section of the lakeside bank has been dug out to create a flat platform. I can only presume this is for sunbathing, and for a group to sit and drink on whilst others were swimming and boating on the lake.

"There was loads of litter everywhere and there were paths pushing down to the lake edge through sections of reedbed where I could still hear singing reed warbler."

What's happening?

BBQs and litter, Aston Clinton Rag Pits
BBQs and litter, Aston Clinton Rag Pits

At Weston Turville Reservoir in Buckinghamshire the Trust have seen unprecedented numbers of people using the site for recreational purposes with lots of disturbance being caused to breeding birds such as water rail, great crested grebe and reed warbler by people swimming, carrying out unauthorised boating in the lake and due to groups of people partying, drinking and having fires on the fishing platforms that extend out into the reservoir.

The site has also seen an increase in other inappropriate behaviour, with people walking with dogs off leads and cycling along the narrow permissive paths.

There has also been a huge amount of litter left on site which has been blowing into the open water and inaccessible areas of the reedbeds where it will pose a serious risk to many species of animal that make their home at the site.

  • Calvert Jubilee: Swimming, unauthorised boating, camp fires, BBQs, groups of teens partying, dog walking when we don't allow dogs on site, fishing, cycling, drinking and loads of littering.
  • Aston Clinton rag pits: Picnicking and BBQs (including somebody building a brick BBQ) and groups of teens partying and drinking.
  • College Lake: Swimming, fires, fences cut to gain access to the site and people generally trespassing on the site for a walk/run.
  • Dancersend: People parking in neighbouring driveways to gain access to the site.
BBQ damage, Calvert Jubilee
BBQ damage, Calvert Jubilee

Land Management and People Engagement Director for BBOWT, Christopher Williams says:

"I've been shocked, saddened and angered by the frankly disgraceful behaviour and actions by some people which we have witnessed at our nature reserves in the last few weeks.  These special places have been lovingly cared for by volunteers and staff for decades and it is very upsetting to see the impact of the actions of a few thoughtless individuals.

"I've worked in the sector for nearly 30 years and I've never seen anything like this. We have seen a dramatic increase in vandalism, fly tipping, litter, fires, out of control dogs worrying our livestock, people feeding and abusing our grazing ponies.  

"People have been disturbing important nesting sites by playing, swimming and kayaking in lakes and ponds set aside for wildlife. People have been having picnics, playing football, flying kites and drones, camping and having BBQs at these places which are meant to be places where wildlife can thrive.  

"None of these activities are permitted at our sites and they are doing untold damage to the prospects of rare and precious wildlife.

"Our Land management teams are already struggling to cope with the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak and this is causing additional and unnecessary stress to those dedicated staff and volunteers who care for these places."

Report the behaviour

BBOWT is asking anyone who witnesses any anti-social and criminal activity at any of their nature reserves, to contact the Police on 101.

Details of how to report these incidents is explained on their website.

They also ask people to spread the word that this is not acceptable through their own social media outlets.  

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