Less is moor...


- Credit: Archant

May I, through your newspaper, bring attention to the current deplorable condition of the Mutter’s Moor and Bulverton Hill areas following the recent felling?

Whilst I appreciate that the removal of infected conifers is necessary, the felling of numerous hardwoods, principally sweet chestnut, is regrettable – particularly in relation to the Arboretum Project.

Furthermore, the collateral damage to retained trees and the debris arising from the felling process is unsightly and incompatible with an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty status.

Prior to the felling process, many tonnes of unsuitable building rubble containing deleterious material (crushed sanitary ware, plastic, etc) was distributed on bridleways and tracks in preparation for heavy vehicular traffic.

Due to this traffic, many rights of way have been abused and heavily rutted, in particular the head of Mutter’s Moor Road (a Devon County highway) near the apex with Salters Cross, which is unfit for purpose.

Directional signs and fingerposts are missing, damaged or unfixed, and have remained so for several months.

Notices on Mutter’s Moor advise that conservation is in progress and appears to comprise felling, swayling, mowing and surface stripping – all of which have been undertaken in the past, including the application of herbicide.

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Unfortunately, without ongoing maintenance, these cleared areas have deteriorated, allowing the regrowth of birch scrub, bracken and gorse.

The wanton clearance of approximately one hectare (2.5 acres) of mixed natural woodland at the junction of bridleways 21 and 29 was inexcusable.

There is increased use of the area comprising cycling, motorcycling, vehicular off-roading, motor rallying, military training, orienteering and running.

Whilst each individual activity may be commendable, collectively they transform the area from a tranquil environment into multi-recreational use.

I have walked this area weekly for nearly 50 years and have witnessed only its deterioration. As a casual observer, “past conservation” appears, with few exceptions, to be disorganised and shambolic.

May I suggest to the owners, supervising authorities and other interested parties, that they co-ordinate their activities, arrest the decline, and treat the area with the respect it deserves, to the benefit of all.

Respect also applies to inconsiderate dog owners who either allow their pets to foul the footpaths, or plastic package the excrement to festoon this and other areas with unsightly litter.

CP Brown

Sidford Road