Mountain bikers 'destroying' wildlife habitats at Kenilworth Common - The Leamington Observer

Mountain bikers 'destroying' wildlife habitats at Kenilworth Common

Leamington Editorial 26th Feb, 2021   0

LOCKDOWNS have seen an increase in use of Kenilworth Common by mountain bikers who are damaging the wildlife habitat.

To improve the area Warwick District Council and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust (WWT) will be working together over the coming weeks to keep bikers off nature trails.

The council says it is part of planned works to rejuvenate the common, for the benefit of wildlife and the enjoyment of people using the nature reserve as part of their allowed daily exercise.

The long-term vision is for the area to benefit from increased light to the woodland floor and a greater diversity in age and structure of trees. The council hopes it will hopefully make for a healthier common.

Kenilworth Common includes woodland and heathland habitats, which support wildlife including woodland birds, fungi, and some rarer species including glow worms and the common lizard.

The council and WWT say these need management to ensure success.

But successive lockdowns throughout the pandemic have seen an increase in the use of the common by unauthorised mountain bikers.

It has resulted in damage to trees roots and the ground through bike runs, erosion to banks, and in creating ‘routes’ valuable wildlife habitat has been wilfully destroyed.

A council spokeswoman said: “As spring approaches disturbance to wildlife from bike-runs is also a concern, at a time when we typically let nature do its own thing.

“In response to this issue Warwick District Council and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust will be putting up notices informing people of where cycling is not permitted, where possible will make good any damage caused by unauthorised cycling, and will be selectively removing trees.

“The removal of trees in order to manage this issue will only be carried out where necessary and will where possible be undertaken to be in keeping with our aims for improvement of the site for wildlife. However, unfortunately there may be a need to undertake clearance and removal works that wouldn’t otherwise have taken place to ensure the safety of all visitors to the site.

“Both Warwick District Council and the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust would like to thank members of the public for their support and understanding over this difficult time, and will continue to manage this local green space while responding proportionately to any issues.”

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