Wild campers leaving litter and human waste in Cornwall could see parts of Fistral beach fenced off

  • Watch Charlotte Gay's report

Parts of Cornwall's most famous surfing beach could be fenced off to the public after so-called wild campers have abandoned tents and left human waste.

Friends of Fistral Dunes have installed new fencing to encourage people to stick to one path through the dunes, but councillor Louis Gardner says they're having to consider "blocking off large parts of the dunes" to protect the ecology of the site.

He said: "It's not a step that we take lightly, and it's not a step that we ever want to be a permanent solution. But actually, when you behave in this way where you where you wild camp and you leave things behind."

Campaigners say camping is only going to make the damage to Fistral dunes worse. Photo taken June 17th. Credit: Willow Stephenson

Cllr Gardner said every reported tent is investigated by the council's homelessness team but are finding in "most of the cases they're not homeless people at all".

He says seeing human waste in the dunes is "not acceptable" in Newquay.

One campaigner, eight-year-old Evie Whaley, has spent three years picking up litter in Fistral dunes with her mum Becky. She says she's seeing a lot more tents camping in the dunes.

She said: "One day we found seven tents. I think one was abandoned but the rest of them, there were people in there. Some of the people were nice, but some of the people some weren't."

The young environmentalist says it makes her feel "angry" because "this is supposed to be a protected wildlife area."

She says it is a "beautiful place" but when people camp there it "destroys the dunes and soon there'll be no dunes if we keep coming".

Evie Whaley and Jessica Channing removing cans and other litter buried in sand amongst the dunes at Fistral. Credit: ITV News

Friends of Fistral Dunes campaigner Jessica Channing says those using the dunes as a "free campsite" are causing irreparable damage.

She says "these dunes are slowly disappearing" thanks to more people camping and "trampling" over the marram grass holding the dunes together.

Jessica says it has become so bad, especially at the north end of Fistral, more drastic protections are needed to preserve the habitat and protect the town "to buffer against the the beach storms".

The group have also 'planted' old Christmas trees to the edge of the eroded dunes to help trap the sand and rebuild the embankment but several people have been trying to burn these old trees for beach fires.

Sergeant Steve Applewhite said the policy are "well aware of the feeling of the local people when it comes to the littering of the dunes".

On his most recent visit he spoke to people inside three different tents with each of them explaining "they had come to Newquay and were without accommodation".

Sgt Applewhite says "unoccupied tents have led to fires in the dunes which clearly has an impact on the habitats and ecosystem of the area" and they are working to support the volunteers of Fistral dunes who "work tirelessly to protect the area".

Friends of Fistral Dunes have already installed a fence to guide beachgoers to use just one route down to the sea. Credit: ITV News