Hostility to visitors evident on the ground
Sir, I am provoked to reply to the letter from Nicola Horsley (Herald, 4th March).
There has been public access to the nature reserve which runs along the old railway from Smardale to Newbiggin-on-Lune, at the Smardale end, for many years. The car park, which I understand belongs to Cumbria Wildlife Trust, used to accommodate up to seven or eight cars with no problem.
Today, however, the opposition to visitors demonstrated by Nicola Horsley’s letter is all too evident on the ground. The visitor to the reserve has to run the gauntlet of a large number of offensively hostile signs to reach a much shrunken parking area, mostly full of ancient farm trailers and tree cuttings and overlooked by yet another “no parking” sign.
Yes, the local lanes are narrow and require care, but they are public highways which anyone is lawfully able to use. No, visitors to the nature reserve cannot be described en-masse as blocking gateways, opening gates and letting their dogs worry livestock, and like it or not, ours is a beautiful area which both locals and visitors will continue to visit and walk in.
Clearing all the hostile signs away, and opening up the existing car park to its full extent, would be a very good start to avoiding visitors parking inappropriately on verges. Yours etc,