Vandals target wildlife haven in Cotswolds

Staff at Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust inspect damage at Whelford Pools. The cost of the damage will run into thousands of pounds. Credit: ITV Westcountry

Staff at Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust say they have noticed an increase in antisocial behaviour at their sites during lockdown.

It comes as vandals burnt down a bird hide at Whelford Pools in the Cotswold Water Park.

The Whelford Pools reserve, between Fairford and Lechlade, used to be the site of two barren gravel pits, but is now a freshwater haven.

In spring, Great Crested Grebe can be seen dancing their courtship rituals across the water. It is also possible to spot otters, nightingales and bittern. And in winter, overwintering wildfowl are present in large numbers.

Waterbirds including terns, moorhens and even bitterns can be seen at the site Credit: ITV Westcountry

We've had problems with fires burning our wildflower meadows, we've had huge amounts of litter, we've had signs and gates destroyed. Loads more people are coming to our sites, and that's really good, but what we want to encourage people to do is respect the sites as well. >

IAN STEVENSON, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust

The Trust says the hide will cost thousands of pounds to rebuild.