SIR – The population of our beautiful area has changed beyond recognition over the last generation or two.
Call me old-fashioned, but I come from an era where they taught children about our special area at the local schools. Children grew up understanding how to behave around livestock and wildlife.
More recently I have come to believe that a lot of people see the Forest in far more selfish ways. The local population has increased massively, the human race seems to have a more “entitled” attitude to life and to do precisely what they want, when they want and seem to become abusive when they told they can’t.
People these days park all over the verges, even when the majority of car parks are open, because they don’t wish to have to walk that little bit further and are unwilling to change where they walk.
People don’t seem to care or even acknowledge why some of the car parks are shut at certain times of the year; they selfishly continue to trample across the heathlands regardless. There are signs up explaining why this is – they are huge and orange! I have also seen them ripped down by people who seemingly know better.
I have watched cyclists cycling well away from the permitted routes and so close to ground nesting birds that they are flying up and dive-bombing them in a desperate bid to defend their young. The cyclists continue either oblivious or non-caring.
The same goes for people walking dogs – in particular, gundog breeds which by instinct will go in and flush birds out. It’s what they are for!
The car parks are heaving with people who have come down to put up gazebos, fly kites, play football, scream and yell, light fires and barbecues, drop rubbish and to cycle everywhere they choose. It is simply not what it is for!
I have watched (particularly since the advent of this national park) the massive increase in visitor numbers which appears to be encouraged by this new authority but who are not policed by them at all.
The Forest is under huge pressure by all these extra people but no one seems to be out there telling them how they should behave.
There have been at least seven Forest fires during lockdown. This tells me that Jo Public needs a bit more instruction!
The Forest had a few weeks to recover from the devastation people have caused it. But now we are in grave danger of losing this special place forever if one or all of these bodies paid by the government to protect it do not act, and act fast.
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