People urged to avoid woods as wild bluebells attract influx of visitors to Portbury

PUBLISHED: 12:00 08 May 2020

Bluebells in Prior's Wood near Portbury.     Picture: Kelveden, Flickr

Bluebells in Prior's Wood near Portbury. Picture: Kelveden, Flickr

Kelveden, Flickr.

People are being urged to avoid Prior’s Woods as cars are ‘clogging up’ village streets to visit its wild bluebell displays.

Bluebells in full flower in Uphill.Bluebells in full flower in Uphill.

Concerns have been raised for people’s safety as an ‘increased number of visitors’ have flocked to the woods in Portbury over the past four weekends.

The village council says social distancing ‘must have been compromised’, which it fears may result in visitors bringing coronavirus into Portbury.

The news comes after a villager died of Covid-19 in April, and the authority says people were parked ‘all over his widow’s private driveway’ a week prior to get to the bluebell walk last month.

The council is now asking visitors to ‘resist the temptation’ to flock the woods, and if people cannot secure a parking space, they are being urged to ‘come back another day’.

Chairman of Portbury Council, Mike Phipps, said: “Normally at this time of year, we get lots of visitors from around our region who come to see our bluebells in Prior’s Wood.

“At the best of times, this is a stressful period, and over three to four weekends, we have seen cars parked all over our streets, clogging up the village at the weekends.

“Towards the end of April, we saw an immediate ramp-up in the number of visitors to our village. It got ridiculous near the entrance to the woods, and social distancing rules must have been compromised.

“We fear this coming weekend will be extra madness as people with lockdown fatigue start to try to get out in the country.

“Please, could we ask you resist the temptation to come to Portbury? If people come in extra numbers, it will compromise social distancing and may even bring contamination into our village.

“We said goodbye to a dearly loved villager in April who was claimed by the virus. His widow now lives alone, in isolation. And the week before, people were parking all over her private driveway in a scramble to get to bluebell walk.

“Residents were disgusted, feelings are running very high, and villagers expressed them on our community Facebook page.

“Please respect our village, and if you can’t park, then come back another day. The bluebells will still be here next year, and, hopefully, our cake stall will be up and running again raising money for local charities soon.”


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