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Woodland in Hamstreet, near Ashford, damaged by anti-social driving

'Reckless' drivers are destroying wildlife habitats and uprooting trees in woodland, it has been claimed.

Damage has been caused to the public bypass off Birchett Lane in Hamstreet, opposite Orlestone Wood Nature Reserve.

The path is popular with families, dog walkers and cyclists who enjoy the peace of the countryside.

Vehicles driving through Hamstreet's woodland have caused damaged to the track
Vehicles driving through Hamstreet's woodland have caused damaged to the track

Cars are also able to access it April to October, but are asked to stick to the track.

But in recent weeks, big 4x4 cars have reportedly driven down the bypass, 'significantly damaging' the track. Spotted cars include a Landrover Discovery and Toyota Hilux.

The vehicles have also driven on private land used for farming.

A concerned dog walker, who did not want to be named, said: "You're meant to stay on the track.

Kent Police have been alerted to the anti social driving
Kent Police have been alerted to the anti social driving

"There were problems before and the farmers put down trunks to keep people on the track but these cars have driven all over the place, driving through ditches onto farmer's fields and throughout the woodland destroying habitat and uprooting trees over a significant area.

"It might sound trivial but the level of damage is truly appalling and the main lane is now impassable for anyone else.

"The level of disregard for the environment and private land is not acceptable."

'It might sound trivial but the level of damage is truly appalling and the main lane is now impassable for anyone else.' - concerned resident

Pictures of the area show deep ditches, wet and muddy ground, tyre tracks and uneven surfaces.

The cars were spotted in the area driving irresponsibly over the last two weekends - and were reported to Kent Police.

A spokesman for the force said: "Kent Police received a report of anti-social driving in woodland in Hamstreet on Saturday, May 11.

"Officers from the Rural Task Force are aware of concerns and patrols will be taking appropriate action against anyone whose vehicle is seen to be used in such a manner."

Frequent fly tipping is also a problem in the area, which has been reported to Ashford Borough Council (ABC).

There have been reports of fly-tipping at the woods too
There have been reports of fly-tipping at the woods too

But it now seems the two issues - the anti-social behaviour and the fly-tipping - are over lapping, as cars being driven down the track are running over the litter and scattering it over the land.

"I have been up again yesterday and the off road drivers have driven and scattered all the fly-tipping at the entrance and further down the track," the walker said.

A spokeswoman for ABC said: "We are aware of repeated reports of fly tipping in this area, which contains a patch of land owned by the Forestry Commission.

"Appropriate signage warning of surveillance has been put in place to try and deter this activity, however, as with all incidents of fly tipping it is incredibly hard to predict exactly when and where it will occur at any one time.

"Given the prevalence of incidents in this particular area though, long term plans are being made to increase our levels of surveillance.

"We would encourage anyone who spots fly tipping anywhere across the borough to contact us directly or report through our online system, without compromising their own personal safety."

To report fly-tipping to the council, visit here.

Read more:All the latest news from Ashford

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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