People urged to avoid walking through Dartmoor woods following damage to habitats

  • Watch Claire Manning's report

Hikers are being asked to avoid walking through Dartmoor's Wistman's Wood this summer following damage to trees and mosses.

Natural England is urging people to walk around the outside of the woodland to help protect the forest's fragile habitats for future generations. Thousands are attracted to the woods every year. Most are not deliberately damaging the fauna but there have been some reports of people camping at the site, lighting fires and stripping lichens and mosses from boulders and trees.

Natural England are asking people not to go into the woodland. Credit: ITV News

In a statement, Natural England told ITV News: "Witsman's Wood National Nature Reserve is one of Dartmoor's most loved and iconic places.

"We ask people to avoid going in amongst the trees and boulders of the woodland itself but to walk around it. By visiting the wood in this way Wistman's Wood will remain a special place for everyone to enjoy in the future."

Adrian Colston's who is a researcher at the University of Exeter added: "We just need to step back and say this is one of the special places on Dartmoor, let's respect it and let's look after it.

"Just by changing our behaviour a little bit, by being patient and by looking at it from the outside that will give the place a breather.

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