AFTER the relaxation of the lockdown rules regarding exercise, I visited Hawthorn Dene Nature Reserve (about four miles’ drive), and was not a happy bunny.

I carried out voluntary work there over a number of years, but my visit last week jolted me to recommend that parents should teach their children about nature.

I counted at least ten families where children had picked a handful of wild flowers, carrying them until their interest waned and then throwing them away.

Quite a number of children (accompanied by parents) were running through a farmer’s field destroying crops, without their parents telling them to stop.

The sheer numbers of people there during the afternoon made me question whether the current lockdown relaxation is premature.

It’s heart-warming to see young families visit our nature reserves, especially as schools are closed, but the rights and wrongs of their potential behaviour has to be taught and understood by all.

These places are nature reserves, not recreation grounds.

Many in our area are classified as SSSI (Sites of Special Scientific Interest) and need protection.

Peter Wilkinson, Peterlee