Anger at Foxglove Covert nature reserve plans to force visitors to cross Army training area

The Northern Echo: Foxglove Covert Foxglove Covert

NEW security measures would force people visiting an acclaimed nature reserve to cross an army training area used by soldiers and military vehicles.

Nationally renowned Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve at Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, was the first to be established on Ministry of Defence land.

However, moves to change the access to the reserve - popular with both birdwatchers and families - has angered the local community.

Colonel Stephen Padgett, the camp's new commander, proposes building a new road to replace the current access which winds past empty barrack blocks - but is guaranteed in a legally binding tenancy agreement.

The suggested new four-mile long detour would pass through an training area used by soldiers on exercise where blank rounds are fired.

It would also leave the reserves volunteers and visitors a 600m walk to the field centre - and, critics claim, waste thousands of pounds of public money.

Long-standing reserve volunteers are considering quitting in protest while retired Major Tony Crease, the creator of Foxglove Covert, has stepped down as the charity's treasurer.

Tony Clark, managing director of Richmondshire District Council, said it has not officially been contacted by the MoD.

"However, through the management committee, we have heard of the MoD's proposals to amend the access road to Foxglove Covert. We will be making contact with the MoD to clarify the proposals," he said.

Col Padgett says the reserve is a "tremendous and valuable" feature and he is wholly supportive and committed to its sustainability.

"It is necessary to ensure that enabling access to volunteers and the general public does not compromise the essential security of MoD personnel and assets,'' he added.

Colonel Guy Deacon, chairman of the Foxglove Covert Nature Reserve charity, claims visiting school parties can continue using the reserve's existing entrance, under escort.

But he supports the idea of a new access road for other visitors, stating: "This new route will provide easy access for many, many more people who are currently daunted by getting through the gate as it is, so we will be fulfilling our remit."

However, there has been no security scare in the reserve's 21-year history and critics point out that a new open entry point could create, not eradicate, such a risk.

Comments (1)

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11:57pm Mon 3 Feb 14

David Hutchinson says...

It is appalling that the "New Broom" commander of the garrison, has not thought at all about the hundreds of days of free work that is provided by the many volunteers who spend hundreds of man hours working on the reserve at Foxglove Covert at no cost whatsoever.
Foxglove is one of the major places in Britain for bird ringing/tracking.
1200 yards in and out of the reserve using the new proposed route is absolutely out of the question for visitors of limited mobility. Last Tuesday, there were three visitors/volunteers walking using crutches. 1200 yards minimum on crutches? Yeah right.
Visitors and volunteers who use public transport will not be able to access the reserve.
Bird ringers who often begin work in the very early hours of the morning will not go when they have several bags/wellingtons/lun
ch/meal bags and other equipment to carry, 1200 yards to and from the car park to the centre, often IN THE DARK.

Disabled visitors will not be able to access the reserve 600 yards each way.
I personally will have to pay an extra £160 a year on fuel for the increased journey into the reserve. (8miles x 52 weeks x 40p per mile. (AA motoring rates.)

Has the new garrison commander or Colonel Deacon tried to push a wheel chair for 1200 yards???????? Or walk on crutches for that distance??? I doubt it. I smell a disability discrimination case brewing.

This proposed new route will cost about £200000 pounds as there are several streams and becks for which new bridges will have to be built, as well as loss of a very fragile habitat which would be lost by the construction of a new road and car park.

The new entrance route would actually CREATE security problems as there would be free access to anyone at anytime to access to the reserve and to be able to access the security fence surrounding the reserve UNSEEN for access to the Garrison rather than the present highly controlled entry to the reserve where current regular visitors have a photo ID card, sign in at the guard house then passage through a locked gate onto the reserve, passing several CCTV cameras on the way.

The new commander is CREATING security problems . Colonel Deacon seems to be totally out of touch with the feelings of the majority of the volunteers/current management group.

I hope Richmondshire Council refuse permission for the new proposed access. It is a senseless waste of taxpayers' money.
I feel that volunteers, visitors and staff are being BULLIED by the "new broom" garrison commander, CREATING security problems, where there are minimal concerns at present, and at GREAT expense to the tax payers .

David Hutchinson

P.s.

Northern Echo:

Please contact me if necessary for further information.
07900691812
It is appalling that the "New Broom" commander of the garrison, has not thought at all about the hundreds of days of free work that is provided by the many volunteers who spend hundreds of man hours working on the reserve at Foxglove Covert at no cost whatsoever. Foxglove is one of the major places in Britain for bird ringing/tracking. 1200 yards in and out of the reserve using the new proposed route is absolutely out of the question for visitors of limited mobility. Last Tuesday, there were three visitors/volunteers walking using crutches. 1200 yards minimum on crutches? Yeah right. Visitors and volunteers who use public transport will not be able to access the reserve. Bird ringers who often begin work in the very early hours of the morning will not go when they have several bags/wellingtons/lun ch/meal bags and other equipment to carry, 1200 yards to and from the car park to the centre, often IN THE DARK. Disabled visitors will not be able to access the reserve 600 yards each way. I personally will have to pay an extra £160 a year on fuel for the increased journey into the reserve. (8miles x 52 weeks x 40p per mile. (AA motoring rates.) Has the new garrison commander or Colonel Deacon tried to push a wheel chair for 1200 yards???????? Or walk on crutches for that distance??? I doubt it. I smell a disability discrimination case brewing. This proposed new route will cost about £200000 pounds as there are several streams and becks for which new bridges will have to be built, as well as loss of a very fragile habitat which would be lost by the construction of a new road and car park. The new entrance route would actually CREATE security problems as there would be free access to anyone at anytime to access to the reserve and to be able to access the security fence surrounding the reserve UNSEEN for access to the Garrison rather than the present highly controlled entry to the reserve where current regular visitors have a photo ID card, sign in at the guard house then passage through a locked gate onto the reserve, passing several CCTV cameras on the way. The new commander is CREATING security problems . Colonel Deacon seems to be totally out of touch with the feelings of the majority of the volunteers/current management group. I hope Richmondshire Council refuse permission for the new proposed access. It is a senseless waste of taxpayers' money. I feel that volunteers, visitors and staff are being BULLIED by the "new broom" garrison commander, CREATING security problems, where there are minimal concerns at present, and at GREAT expense to the tax payers . David Hutchinson P.s. Northern Echo: Please contact me if necessary for further information. 07900691812 David Hutchinson
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