One of Britain’s most important wildlife sites – the Warren between Dover and Folkestone – is being damaged by crime and anti-social behaviour.
It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest designated as of national interest for wildlife by Natural England, and anyone damaging it is committing a criminal offence.
“Much of the Warren has now been officially classified as unfavourable for wildlife by Natural England,” said Dr Kirk Alexander, of the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership (WCCP). “But it is recovering because of work by the partnership, such as the new grazing area that is being fenced now.
“The Warren is visited by more than 100,000 people every year, but a small proportion of visitors are spoiling it for everyone through crime and anti-social behaviour.”
White Cliffs Countryside Partnership volunteers improving the path at the Warren.
Partnership volunteers noticed 43 incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour in the Warren in July alone.
“These are only the incidents seen by the WCCP, a lot more probably took place,” said Dr Alexander. “These acts not only spoil the experience for every visitor but much of it also damages the wildlife value of the site. For example, camping and fires kill the vegetation and fly tipping and litter can be dangerous to wildlife.”
People who are concerned about the state of the Warren are being invited to join in helping to protect and improve it for wildlife and people.
They can join the conservation volunteers, become a volunteer ranger, become a Friend of the Warren or join one of the guided walks that are organised throughout the year.
Children can get involved as Junior Rangers as part of the Green Gang to earn badges and prizes as they learn about science and wildlife.
“We want everyone to tell us what they love about the Warren, and what they dislike about it at the moment,” said Dr Alexander. “There is a short questionnaire on our web site or people can email or write to us.
“We would also love to hear people’s stories and see their old photographs of the Warren as part of a project to record it’s history.”
A newsletter about the Warren has just been published and is available free to download here. The email address is email@example.com and the postal address is WCCP, c/o Dover District Council, White Cliffs Business Park, Dover, Kent CT16 3PJ.