Camping sees holidaymakers more at one with nature than staying in a holiday cottage or hotel. But some campers have been accused of showing a shocking lack of care for nature after “antisocial” behaviour at campsites. The National Trust has issued a warning following a “dramatic increase in the amount of discarded equipment and litter being left behind” at UK beauty spots.
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The National Trust is urging people not to fly-camp on its land and to help protect nature and wildlife this summer.
According to the body, ranger teams are finding 20 percent of their time is now having to be spent on clearing up after visitors rather than on vital conservation work to help nature.
Campers are leaving behind everything from tents and air beds to camping tables and BBQs.
In Dovedale, in the Peak District, 170 large bin bags of rubbish were collected over just three days in June.
Illegally parked camper vans are also proving a problem.
Since the easing of lockdown restrictions in England various tourist hot spots including the Peak District, Lake District and South West have seen significant increases in the numbers of people camping, and a spike in the number of camper vans parking at beauty spots overnight, without permission, said the National Trust.
In the Lake District, the number of camper vans parking illegally is wiping out the capacity in many car parks for day visitors with 118 counted in one valley in just one evening at Buttermere.
There are also unsustainable levels of anti-social fly-camping on accessible lakeshores with campers lighting fires, damaging trees and littering.
National Trust staff have been horrified by the careless attitude of holidaymakers.
Longshaw Area Ranger Chris Millner said: “The volume of debris left behind is overwhelming and something we’ve not experienced before.
“After people have finished having fun it’s like they abandon ship.
“What they couldn’t be bothered to carry out they just left for someone else to clean up.”
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Holidaymakers are being urged to plan and book ahead for their trips.
They should not be turning up with nowhere to stay to camp illegally.
Steve Sudworth, Lead Ranger along the north Cornish coastline said: “Overnight camping numbers in cars, vans and tents are continuing to increase across our sites and car parks on the North coast, causing significant issues to the area and visitors.
“The overnighters are frequently leaving human waste, used toilet tissue, BBQs and other litter across the beautiful countryside they have themselves come to enjoy.
“This is damaging these landscapes and spoiling them for everyone whilst causing a health hazard in already challenging times.
“We urge people to treat the countryside with respect, please only stay overnight at authorised sites, take your rubbish home with you when you visit and do not go to the toilet where there are no facilities.”
Furthermore, campfires should not be lit at any National Trust countryside or coastal locations.
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