Regular police patrols of Gwrych Castle woods after campfires and barbecues leave blackened land

Police warned that fire damage can cause irreparable harm and much of the land around the castle has Site of Special Scientific Interest status. Credit: North Wales Police Rural Crime Team

Police officers will be carrying out regular patrols near Gwrych Castle, Conwy, after land was burnt by campfires and disposable barbecues.

North Wales police, Natural Resources Wales and representatives of the Gwrych Castle Trust near Abergele visited Gwrych woods on August 3 after “a number of issues of concern".

The rural crime team cited campfires and disposable barbecues as a particular problem, while posting images of significant patches of blackened grass.

The castle is well known for hosting the past two seasons of ITV show I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, after the pandemic forced production to relocate from its usual Australian jungle home.

A police spokesperson said: ”Much of the site has the status of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and fire damage can cause irreparable harm as well as causing a huge drain on resources for our colleagues in the fire service.

“We will be carrying out regular patrols in the area.”

It comes amid calls to stop the sale of disposable barbecues across the UK.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) says an immediate cease on the sale will help prevent more wildfires, which are damaging to the countryside and threatening rural communities.

Pictures posted online show burnt shrubbery and signs of materials that could have caused this. Credit: North Wales Police Rural Crime Team

CLA President, Mark Tufnell, said: "During this period of prolonged lack of rainfall, record temperatures during heatwaves and wildfires damaging the countryside, policies such as this which can mitigate potential further fire damage are sensible and necessary. 

"We warmly welcome people to the countryside as they seek to enjoy the glorious weather. But we ask them to help us protect farmland and natural habitats by not lighting barbecues, fires and other potentially hazardous materials such as sky lanterns."

Record high temperatures were recorded in Wales last month and hosepipe bans are coming into force in parts of the UK amid the driest weather conditions since the 1970s.

Several bans are already underway in England with more water companies considering taking action in order to conserve water supplies.