Shocking litter at Ham Hill Country Park prompts bin removal decision

Rangers at Ham Hill Country Park near Yeovil are considering removing litter bins from the site following a shocking amount of litter, South Somerset District Council has said.

A council spokesperson said the Green Flag Award-winning site was subjected to a “vast amount of littering” on the weekend of 19 and 20 May.

The spokesperson added: “Whilst residents in South Somerset are encouraged to ‘bag it and bin it’, removing litter bins from Ham Hill Country Park may be the only option to try and ensure that people take their rubbish with them, rather than allowing it to blow all over the historic Country Park site.”

Ham Hill is a 390-acre (164-hectare) country park centred on an Iron Age hill fort. It is managed by the district council and the area is also designated as a Local Nature Reserve.

Rachael Whaites, countryside manager at South Somerset District Council, said it had taken two staff three-hours to remove the waste from beside bins across the green space after visitors left waste behind on Sunday.

She added: “This time would have been far better spent maintaining the historic site, delivering site improvements like the woodland play trail, and continuing the wildlife monitoring programmes that are underway at this time of the year.

“Not only does leaving litter ruin the experience for other visitors, it could also be dangerous, with an increased risk of fire or injury to visitors and their dogs from the mountains of usually BBQ and drinks related waste left lying around.

“The litter also has ecological implications; attracting mammals and birds and it has a detrimental effect on the grassland habitats of the country park. We ask that those who visit Ham Hill Country Park take rubbish away with them and do not have fires or BBQs on the grass. We cannot have another summer where we spend more time litter picking than working on managing the site for the benefit of all our visitors.”

Removing the litter bins from across the site and also the barbecue plinths will now be discussed by the countryside team as a way of tackling the issue.

Councillor Sylvia Seal, portfolio holder for leisure and culture, said: “It’s a real shame that the hard work of the rangers and volunteers is ruined by a minority of people who leave litter at our countryside sites.

“If you see that a bin is full, bag your litter and take it home. Please don’t leave it beside the bin – it’s not helpful and it’s not good for the environment. Keep a rubbish or carrier bag in your car so that you can easily bag it and take it home where it can be recycled and disposed of.”

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Hello! I'm KATE, a journalist, editor and broadcaster with 20 years experience in the industry. I have worked at the BBC, ITV, Heart and Sky Sports News. I've lived in Somerset for most of my life and set up LOVE SOMERSET ONLINE in 2016. I love the seaside and am partial to a good gin and tonic.

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