I have discussed some of the aftermath of the sledging and snow - see here. We are now looking at what can be done longer term - the notices put up did help reduce the mess but what else? The letter below sent to the SNJ is from a local farmer and with the photo gives some indication of some of the mess left....
Interestingly the District Council also report more litter on the roads during the snow - perhaps more people out walking?
Madam - Cans Sweet papers Crisp packets Bottles Bin liners Broken sledges Assorted hardboard Piles of plastic sheeting A car bonnet Part of a canoe Car tyres Several stolen road signs And A thermos flask and bunch of keys
These are some of the items which had to be cleared after 8 days of tobogganing on fields in Randwick, Ruscombe, Whiteshill, Cainscross and Stonehouse - all land in the Cotswolds AONB and along the Cotswold Way, and part of my farm. This depressing picture was duplicated around the 5 Valleys, on Common land and other farms, where easy access to hills is possible. This has been anti-social behaviour on a large scale, and in some instances included wanton damage to property such as fences, gates and water courses. As such, it raises a number of questions.
Since this also happened in February last year, why did it not in 1981? Where were the parents in this, in informing and controlling their children? The schools – what are they teaching about the countryside and wider social issues of responsibility and care? Why is it deemed safe for children to career down hills (and sometimes along streets) on toboggans, yet trying to get them onto farms to learn more about the countryside, food production and the environment is pretty well impossible, sometimes on the grounds of so called risk. (I spent 3 years attempting to develop links with 10 local schools to use my farm as a learning classroom, only for this to founder for lack of take up).
The only offers of help to clear up over the 40 acres concerned, came from non-tobogganing local people or Parish/Town Councillors and local environmental groups? Why, and where were the families who created this mess when it had to be man/woman handled across sodden fields, bagged up and left by the road side? And finally, why does the press portray all this sledging as so fantastic? Can anybody answer these questions for me please?
Julia Currie - Ebley