Blawhorn Moss NNR
Since lockdown we have had a lot of fly tipping at Blawhorn Moss NNR. A number of individuals had taken advantage of the location to dump rubbish on the access track and in the car park. Blawhorn is a fantastic NNR and the local people have a lot of pride with having a National Nature Reserve on their doorstep. So fly tipping is an absolute blot on this beautiful site and so staff and contractors have been clearing up the rubbish as fast as possible.
So driving into the reserve yesterday morning it was a great feeling to see nothing dumped at the road turn off and on the access track to the car park, the welcome to the reserve was looking as it should – welcoming. But as I drove into the car park a scene of devastation met me. Covering half the area of the parking area was a mound of smoking ashes and scattered rubbish. More had been thrown over the fence. It seems that near all the contents of a house had been dumped in the car park, scattered and then set light. It took me and the team 1.5 hrs to clear it up, ashes, broken glass, electric items, a mattress and more. It was a filthy job but this isn’t the worst of it. We have worked really hard to keep Blawhorn looking good so to be faced with this type of willfully destructive, ignorant and disgusting behaviour really hits you when you have invested so much time and energy into a site. For us it isn’t just a job managing these reserves, they are places that we cherish and go way beyond the job description to develop. The only glimmer of silver lining is that we found personal items in the rubbish and hope that these can be used to trace the dumpers leading to hefty fines.
So this wasn’t a great start to the day but once sorted we made a start on what we were on site for. We were there to start work on the new part of the reserve – clearing invading Sitka spruce regeneration, removing tree tubes from tree planting and starting to cut a new path for people to get around the site. These are all positive tasks, improving the reserve and enabling others to enjoy it. It gave me a chance to have a close look at the new ground and I was really pleased to see patches of sphagnum that we will help spread with our restoration work and flower-rich grassland full of birds foot trefoil, sneezewort, knapweed and devils-bit scabious. At least we finished the day on a high point of the nature reserve roller coaster.