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Weekend crowds at Durdle Door showed ‘shocking’ disregard for area, charity says

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A charity said it had received hundreds of messages about litter and waste left at the site.

The beach was busy over the weekend

Crowds on beaches and cliffs at Durdle Door over the weekend showed a “shocking” disregard for the area, a conservation charity has said.

The Jurassic Coast Trust described the “shocking events” of three people suffering serious injuries at the Dorset beauty spot after leaping from the top of the limestone arch, which is 200ft high.

Thousands of people were evacuated from the beach and surrounding cliff area to allow air ambulances to land.

Lucy Culkin, chief executive of the charity, said it had received hundreds of messages from members of the public since the weekend.

She said these highlighted the “appalling volume of litter” on beaches, including human waste, sanitary items, and surgical masks and gloves, as well as disposable barbecues.

“The lack of respect for our coastline shown by some has deeply saddened our local communities and visitors alike,” she said.

“It was clear to see that some had all but forgotten the guidelines of social distancing or welfare for themselves and others, or indeed any respect for the natural environment they were visiting.”

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She said that despite pleas for people to consider travelling to Dorset, many seemed determined to visit “at any cost”.

On Monday, councillor Vikki Slade, the leader of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, wrote to local MPs and the chief constable of Dorset Police about the issue.

Cllr Slade said she had witnessed people failing to follow social distancing rules, illegal parking, widespread barbecues in hot, dry conditions and staff facing abuse.

People on the beach at Durdle Door on Sunday (Andrew Matthews/PA)
People on the beach at Durdle Door on Sunday (Andrew Matthews/PA)

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James Weld, the owner of the Lulworth Estate on which Durdle Door is situated, said the easing of lockdown restrictions to allow for unlimited travel in England had resulted in an “unacceptable influx of visitors”.

Ms Culkin said many of the charity’s partners and volunteers had worked “as hard as they could” over the weekend to ensure safety but were often met with “abuse and disdain”.

“To witness the disregard with which Durdle Door, our beaches and coast paths have been treated is shocking,” she said.

“We have received hundreds of messages from members of the public highlighting the appalling volume of litter on beaches; the human waste, sanitary items and surgical masks and gloves found at the top of Golden Cap and numerous disposable BBQs found on footpaths next to open fields in dry, hot conditions.”

She insisted that visitors should respect the Jurassic Coast World Heritage site, which covers 95 miles of coastline from Devon to Dorset.

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