A beauty spot near Bristol has been closed off due to crowds gathering there during the hot weather.

North Somerset Council has closed off Abbots Pool nature reserve in Abbots Leigh following increasing concerns for public health and issues with anti-social behaviour and environmental damage.

Since the lockdown restrictions have been relaxed, more and more people have visited the site, and the issues have got worse during the hot weather.

Visitors have been ignoring social distancing and using the site as a toilet which both poses a significant threat to public health.

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Large amounts of litter and damage to the woodland has also affected the site

There are also concerns the ecosystem of the pool is being affected by people using the water to cool off, although swimming is not allowed.

Barriers have been put up at the entrances to the site to prevent access.

North Somerset Council leader and member of the Abbots Pool management committee Councillor Don Davies said: “We must do everything we can to encourage our residents to respect social distancing and lockdown measures and maintain the health of our population.

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Despite efforts to encourage a code of conduct at the site, irresponsible and anti-social behaviour has continued.

Cllr Don Davies, Leader of the Council

Mr Davies said there were also fears there could be a serious incident at the pool due to people drinking alcohol and then getting into the water.

With so much evidence of alcohol consumption at the site, and people swimming, there is also risk of a serious incident at the pool.

Cllr Don Davies, Leader of the Council

Simon Talbot-Ponsonby, chair of Abbots Leigh Parish Council and also long-standing member of the Abbots Pool management committee added: “The local community are very sad that it has come to this, but totally agree that there is no alternative to this course of action.

The closure is likely to remain in place throughout the summer and will be kept under review until the end of September 2020.