Fox Hagg Landscapes by Rob Miller

Damage to local nature reserve threatens wildlife

A local nature reserve managed by Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust has unfortunately been subject to vandalism and illicit trail digging for the use of mounting biking. As a small charity with a team of dedicated members and volunteers the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust work hard to maintain and protect the beautiful but vulnerable habitats across South Yorkshire.

From meadows and moorlands to woodlands and wetlands, nature reserves are protected places where wildlife can live and ultimately thrive. Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust also want their nature reserves to be enjoyed by the local community. Connecting with nature is essential especially during lockdown to boost wellbeing and so they look after an extensive network of public bridleways, where cyclists, walkers and horse riders are all welcome to come and enjoy the nature reserves and get closer to nature. However, it is also extremely important that visitors always respect and look after wildlife during their visit.

Nabil Abbas, Living Landscape Manager, said “We were shocked and saddened to recently come across an extensive area of illegal mountain bike trail construction on one of the nature reserves that we manage. Any damage to a nature reserve is obviously very upsetting, but damage to a Site of Special Scientific Interest is also a criminal offence and the police have been informed about this case”.

John Horscroft, from Ride Sheffield said, “The UK’s flora and fauna are under threat. Building trails in a nature reserve where threatened species like willow tit are being encouraged to nest can have a seriously negative effect. Love the place you ride and look after it!”

The Trust are urging nature reserve visitors to always follow the Countryside Code when enjoying wild places. #RespectProtectEnjoy

o Don’t destroy what you’ve come to enjoy
o Take your litter home to throw away or recycle
o Don’t have barbecues or fires in the countryside
o Keep your dog on a lead
o Stick to footpaths and follow local signs
o Respect local farmers and communities
o Protect our outdoor spaces
o Throw your PPE (gloves and face coverings) in the bin – not the recycling

Read the full Countryside Code here