A beachside 'grave' for one of Harry Potter's beloved characters, Dobby the house-elf, has been saved from removal for now.
The National Trust was considering taking away the tribute to the fictional character at Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire due to fears the beach was being damaged by a large number of Potter fans flocking to the site.
Dobby's grave appeared at the beach after it was used in 2009 film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
It attracts thousands of visitors who leave tributes like painted stones, socks, tea towels, flowers, dolls, gnomes, and laminated messages.
The 'memorial' has become so popular that concerns were raised about whether it is "sustainable" at the beauty spot.However a three-month consultation by National Trust Wales, which manages the beach, concluded it can stay "in the immediate term".
The National Trust said: "The memorial to Dobby will remain at Freshwater West in the immediate term for people to enjoy".However it encouraged visitors to protect the environment by not leaving items at the memorial."The trust is asking visitors to only take photos," it said."Items like socks, trinkets, and paint chips from painted pebbles could enter the marine environment and food chain and put wildlife at risk."
The survey asked 30 questions about Freshwater West including about traffic, parking and toilet facilities.It also asked if Dobby's grave should be removed or transferred to a "suitable publicly accessible location off-site".Outraged fans demanded Dobby's grave be allowed to stay, citing the joy it brings to children and fans of the franchise.One said: “Why are some people so damn miserable. People come from all over to see this and the children love it.”
Another person called those complaining "utter killjoys", adding: "It is a bit of magic for the kids. Everyone’s getting their knickers in a twist over a couple of rocks."John Hodge, from Milford Haven, built a wooden cross for the site in 2020 after his granddaughter asked him to.He said: “The debate should be about the happiness Dobby’s grave brings to so many children like my granddaughter."With all that is going on in the world a bit of make-believe is welcome. It’s a pity the council wouldn’t put up a grave marker for children to see.“If people complain about the untidiness why not organise a ‘Dobby grave tidy’.”
However not everyone was happy to keep the grave in tact and in place.Commenting on a photo of the grave in a Pembrokeshire Facebook group, one user said: “Enough is enough this has become an absolute eyesore and it’s time it was cleared away."
Another said: “Just take the kids to a landfill site, it looks the same.”Dobby was a key character in the Harry Potter films and died at the hands of Bellatrix Lestrange after rescuing Harry and friends in the seventh film and book of the series.