Quantock Hills Blog

Stopped in their tracks!

- Sunday 15th November – Ranger/Police Patrol

Tim Russell

Posted by Tim Russell on 16 November 2009

Stopped in their tracks! A beautiful autumn day attracted large numbers of visitors to the hills. Car parks were full to bursting and walkers, cyclists and horse riders seemed to be making the most of the welcome break in recent stormy weather!

I had arranged to meet Beat Manager David Masters to do a joint patrol of the hill top areas and visitor ‘honey-pots’.  Just as Dave pulled up at our rendez-vous at Crowcombe Park Gate I was alerted by the tell-tale sound of motorbikes just below us.  The group whizzed across the common (Site of Special Scientific Interest) towards the cattle grid.  I followed in haste and managed to stop them just before they turned into The Drove Road (Restricted Byway).  I signalled to the bikers to turn off their engines, which they did.  Within seconds Dave turned up in his Police 4WD and dealt with the bikers using anti-social behaviour legislation.  The bikers had come from Devon (transporting their bikes in a couple of vans) and were told in no uncertain terms that the Quantocks are a ‘no go’ area as far as off-road motor bikes are concerned!

This incident just goes to prove how important it is to the Rangers to have Police back-up and support when dealing with illegal activity on the hills.  The hill top area of the Quantocks is actually pretty small and is under pressure all year round from a variety of recreational uses … noisy, anti-social activities such as off-roading are not compatible these sensitive and beautiful hills.

Dave and I then headed off into the northern common as we had news of another group of motorbikes being heard in the vicinity of Shepherd’s Combe.  We didn’t come across these bikes but were rewarded with stunning late afternoon views of the hills bathed in golden sunlight and a large group of deer on the heath above Slaughterhouse Combe.

All in all – a good day’s patrol!

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