Three sheep have been killed by visitors driving across a well-known beauty spot near Leamington.
On top of that, rangers at Burton Dassett Hills Country Park are seeing continual damage to the area through barbecues and littering.
The recent spate of hot weather saw thousands of people come out to enjoy the Burton Dassett Hills. Sadly, a minority of visitors have created real problems for the ranger team by causing damage to the park.
As the school holidays start, rangers are asking visitors at Burton Dassett Hills to be vigilant to the fire, to take their litter home risks with them, and to avoid driving on the site, apart from on surfaced and signposted roads.
A spokesperson for the site said: “Sheep always graze on the hills and unfortunately at least three have been hit and killed by cars so far this year.
“One lamb was first hit by a car several weeks ago but managed to recover thanks to the care and efforts of the farmer. Sadly, the same lamb was hit again by another car last week and was unable to overcome the injuries.
“The police carry out night patrols at the park when they can, and if anyone is caught driving away from the paths they can be issued with a Section-59 notice and, if caught again, the vehicle will be seized and crushed.”
Barbeques are banned at all of Warwickshire’s Country Parks but rangers have reported a large number of barbeques at Burton Dassett Hills, creating a significant fire risk to both the public and wildlife.
On the issue of litter, the spokesperson added: “On sunny days, even when bins are emptied by staff in the early evening, they are found overflowing the following morning, filled with food packaging and barbeque waste.
“The problem is often exacerbated by picnic debris being deliberately left by benches, or discarded on the ground. Crows pick at the litter and the wind scatters it over wide areas of exposed hills.
“Last week a litterbin, added temporarily to cope with the increased demand, was thrown down a hill, leaving a huge amount of work for rangers the following morning.”
Craig Earl, senior countryside ranger at Warwickshire Country Parks, said: “’The ranger team work extremely hard to ensure the park is safe and presentable for visitors to enjoy. Unfortunately the current elevated levels of litter arising from evening use (and occasional misuse!) of the site is posing significant ongoing challenges.
“Visitors can really help us with this by taking litter home wherever possible. We urge everyone to leave the park as they would wish to find it. It’s a fantastic site, and we want everyone who comes to enjoy a litter free visit!”
Councillor Heather Timms, portfolio holder for environment, climate and culture at Warwickshire County Council, said: “Almost a million people have come to enjoy Warwickshire’s wonderful Country Parks over the past year, seeking fun, safety, sanctuary and a chance to immerse themselves in nature.
“It’s such a shame that a small number of people spoil the fun for the many, and I’d encourage anyone witnessing this kind of behavior to contact a park ranger via 07900 821 867, or call the Police on 101.”