Warning over woodland fires

THE owners of an ancient Clevedon woodland are calling for people to take more care following a rise in the number of fires being left to burn among its trees.

Members of the Elton family have become increasingly concerned about the risk being posed to the trees and wildlife at Clevedon Court Wood as well as the people who use it and have called in the town’s police to raise awareness of the issue.

The woodland, which was planted in the late 18th century, is popular among walkers as well as people wishing to camp under its canopy.

Those who camp tend to light small fires, which are sometimes left to smoulder without being properly extinguished.

Only recently, a beech tree thought to be 80-100 years old caught fire and firefighters had to be called to put out the flames.

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Due to the size of the wood, they were forced to walk to the site carrying back packs as they were unable to reach it with a hose reel.

The fact much of the woodland is relatively inaccessible for fire engines means its owners are concerned about the potential for a fire to spread.

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The Elton family have also highlighted their worries about the amount of litter, as well as dog poo bags, being left in the woodland and occasional acts of vandalism which have seen some trees badly damaged.

Sir Charles Elton said: “We are very happy that the wood is used as a local amenity and that so many people enjoy it.

“However, we are very saddened that the enjoyment is being ruined by these mindless vandals.

“We are concerned about the possible damage which could be done to people using the woods.

“The litter and dog poo bags really spoil it for people’s pleasure – it is disgusting sometimes.

“This is a lovely woodland with ancient trees but is being spoilt by a few people who are just completely irresponsible.”

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