Rangers from Denbighshire Countryside Service have criticised a group of illegal 4x4 drivers who have damaged an area of regenerating heather moorland above the Dee Valley.
The Council's countryside team had been working to restore a number of areas of damaged moorland on the Llantysilio mountains, where budding Jeremy Clarksons and bikers have been a pest in the past. Around three quarters of an acre of land was restored in 2010 alongside the Moel y Faen quarry near the Ponderosa Cafe above Llangollen, where vegetation was beginning to regrow. Following this recent incident much of that has been damaged, with tyre tracks all the way across the restored area.
Nick Critchley, Moorland Field Officer for the Heather and Hillforts Project, said:
'It is heartbreaking to see our efforts so badly damaged in an instant. The Countryside Service has been working tirelessly with officers from North Wales Police to tackle problems with off-roaders using vehicles illegally in the area and we have had some considerable success.'
'We have also worked closely with volunteers, conservation and off-road user groups to repair damage caused by off-road vehicles and we are due to follow up our original restoration work by spreading more heather this spring.'
'However, the latest incident shows the message simply isn't getting through to a minority of individuals who think it's appropriate to damage our countryside. Heather moorland is internationally rare, is home to a number of rare species, is important agricultural land for many farmers and crucially is very slow growing. It takes many years for areas damaged in this way to recover - we must work together to tackle this anti-social behaviour.'
'We would encourage off-road vehicle users to ensure they know where they can drive legally before they set out, and urge other users of the countryside to contact the Police on 101 if they see vehicles being used beyond the network of roads and byways available to off-road vehicles.'