The number of people who visit the countryside is many and varied and their reasons for doing so unpredictable. Living in a well-known beauty spot, I am for ever amazed that those who come to enjoy the peace and tranquility of an area of special scientific interest can be so neglectful of it.
Litter and inappropriate car parking are two particular cases in point. Visitors often can't be bothered to carry their plastic bottles further than the place where they drink from them, nor do they put chocolate wrappers or empty cigarette packets in their pockets to deposit them in the next litter bin. It's much easier to put them in a hedge or just drop them on the floor for the next, more thoughtful passer-by to care about.
Going out yesterday, it was very easy to see that the fishing season has started again, as vehicles were everywhere. Nobody wants to spoil their pleasure, but why can't they take up the offer of parking on the island where they would bother no-one, the safety of pedestrians would be increased and the grass verges would be protected. At the bottom of the hairpin bend, bollards have been put in to protect the new verge going up the hill, but someone just had to park beyond them, didn't they - and this wasn't the first time someone had done this. At the top of the bend, there were signs of a vehicle having been burnt out with damage to at least one tree.
It is just so disheartening to see all these things happening. And it's likely to get worse.
Plans are once again going ahead for a fish pass to be constructed on the Warmsworth side of the Falls. This is great news for fish and other wildlife, but will planning for more parking be considered. It is bound to attract more visitors and so it should as it is fascinating and worthy of interest, but where will they park?
The first meeting of the steering group is due to be held on the 27th June and there is no doubt we as a group will be raising this issue once again, but will anyone listen or help us to do something about it? We have a possible parking area in view, but need statutory backing to make it a reality and we also need visitors to realise that if they want to visit the Don Gorge they will have to walk a bit further to do so.