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Crash fears as lockdown sparks visitor rise to woodland near Canterbury and Herne Bay

A lockdown spike in trips to woodland for walks has seen scores of motorists leave their cars along a road dubbed “accident alley” – raising fears of a fatal crash.

Nature lovers unable to find a space in the overflowing car park at Thornden Wood - between Canterbury and Herne Bay - have instead been leaving their vehicles at its entrance.

Several cars were seen lining Thornden Wood Road last Saturday, November 7
Several cars were seen lining Thornden Wood Road last Saturday, November 7

This has meant that the paths of oncoming motors in Thornden Wood Road have been obstructed, forcing them to veer into the centre of the 60mph thoroughfare.

As a result, Greenhill councillor Dan Watkins has branded the drivers inconsiderate and is urging them to park elsewhere.

“I’m very concerned about it. It’s dangerous leaving your car on that road – it could lead to a crash,” he explained.

“It's as dangerous as it gets when someone has to swerve into the middle of the road in a wood, where hardly any natural light can get through.

“It’s a safety risk. It’s November, it’s dark and the roads are slippery, so people need to be sensitive to that.”

A car flipped onto its roof in Thornden Wood Road in 2015
A car flipped onto its roof in Thornden Wood Road in 2015

Thornden Wood Road has been the scene of numerous crashes in recent years, including one in 2015 during which a driver miraculously escaped serious injury after flipping his car along the route.

Canterbury City Council wardens do not have enforcement powers in the area as the route does not have yellow lines.

Motorists on social media have slated “selfish” ramblers who choose to park on the road, with one branding the situation “a death waiting to happen”.

“Drivers should be more responsible and not park there,” Cllr Watkins continued.

“When the issue last arose, I heard from people who thought it was dangerous and found it uncomfortable driving down that road.

Greenhill councillor Dan Watkins
Greenhill councillor Dan Watkins

“The people leaving their cars there could get their mirrors whacked – so why do it?

“They should be more flexible and go to Clowes Wood car park instead, because that’s very, very close.”

The car park is run by the Kent Wildlife Trust, which says it has not received any recent reports of nuisance parking.

A spokesman added: “The car park was closed during the first lockdown as we were seeing a huge increase in visitor numbers, at the same time as having a reduced capacity to deal with site-related issues.

“Thornden Wood car park was opened in the summer and has not been closed again.”

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