A rather messy problem blighting Ashridge’s serene countryside has seen a rise in dog waste bags ‘hung like Christmas ornaments’ in the popular walking spot.
The problem has been noted by a keen dogwalker, who did not wish to be named, but took on the unenviable task of collecting carrier bags filled with pooch poo during her latest visit to the National Trust estate over the weekend.
The vigilante pooper scooper, who often strolls the area with her Jack Russell, said she plucked 18 unpleasant parcels from trees in the space of just half an hour around the Northchurch Common area. She then posted about her exploits in the Facebook page Everything Berko, to which she received a significant response.
She told the Gazette: “I have been walking up there for the last 10 years but the problem has got really bad.
“The plastic bags are dangerous to the wildlife and, particularly now the weather is nicer, there are young children going to be playing around there with dog poo bags hanging from the trees like they are Christmas ornaments. It’s quite an issue, and there were some really strong reactions.”
The animal-lover highlighted an increase in dog poo bins as a potential solution to the issue, but Ashridge’s lead ranger Lawrence Trowbridge said he believes introducing more bins would not abate the problem as it is about challenging the mindset of dog walkers.
He said: “The last thing we want to be doing is plastering the place with dog poo bins, or contaminating the landscape for the other wildlife.
“We really do welcome responsible dog walking – Ashridge is a great place for that but it is just a shame people leave dog poo in bags that aren’t even biodegradable.”
The Trust already spends around £9,000 a year on waste recycling and £2,000 on dog waste bins.
Mr Trowbridge highlighted concerns about deer ingesting the plastic, and encouraged dog owners to either take their poo bags home with them or employ the ‘stick and flick’ method to move any faeces to undergrowth where it will not be walked on.
He added: “For those that don’t care or don’t give it a second thought, we want to reach out and say please help to keep Ashridge special. Take all rubbish away with you, including dog poo bags.”
For those that don’t care or don’t give it a second thought, we want to reach out and say please help to keep Ashridge special.Ashridge’s lead ranger Lawrence Trowbridge