Clumber Park says social-distancing is destroying vegetation
The National Trust says social-distancing is destroying vegetation at Clumber Park - as walkers wander off footpaths to avoid getting too close to others.
Clumber Park rangers say the most popular walking path around the lake has almost doubled in width in some places as people try to create extra space for oncoming visitors.
The park say grass and vegetation surrounding walking routes - of which there are around 100km at the 3,800-acre site - are being seriously damaged as a result.
Lead Ranger Gareth Jones said: “Some people have sought quieter routes and left official pathways altogether but this can disturb the wildlife as well as erode the soil across the fragile heathland habitats of Clumber Park.
“There are around 100km of paths throughout the park and keeping them maintained is an ongoing process.
“Over the past three or four years we have spent between £20,000 to £30,000 annually on resurfacing paths in the park and making them accessible and now with the added impact of social distancing it will take us a while to get the paths back to their normal standard.”
Instead of trampling over fauna surrounding paths the National Trust is asking walkers to go in single file or stop and let others pass where necessary.
The trust has already had its finances stretched due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However it anticipates that it will need to raise extra money to repair pathways damaged over the past six months alone - as well as fundraising for on-going maintenance and repairs.
Rob Rhodes, head of countryside management at the National Trust said: “We want to do everything we can to encourage more people to get outdoors and to be active and to engage with nature.
“A rare positive of the coronavirus pandemic is how we’ve witnessed thousands more people get out and about as and when Government restrictions allow to enjoy the countryside.
“We recognise that people are getting fed up with having so many rules to follow but if we can all play our part by looking after our paths then we can ensure more people can enjoy them all the year round – and that they can remain open and accessible.”
To make a donation to the trust’s Give Back To Nature appeal see https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/appeal/everyone-needs-nature-appeal.