In the last news letter it was reported: "All that remains to be done is add 'shut the gate' signs and make minor adjustments to the closing springs. It is to be hoped that GAP guidelines will be followed. Suitable signs should be erected on all access points to notifying the public of the need for conservation grazing, that livestock are present, giving emergency contact details of the grazier, and/or the site manager, and stating that dogs must be kept on leads, or under close control where livestock are grazing.
I gather that the Council considers that the GAP guidelines are recommendations that do not have to be followed, they will not finance or approve the placing of advised signs. It is difficult to see that the placing of a second simple sign on the cross bars could be obtrusive.
Lets take a walk along the Coastal Path
Along the North Walk at the Cliff Railway bridge there is a large (A4 size) clear statement and another at the end of the car park at Choughs Nest - Well I am informed many years ago a dog did walk onto the track and lost its tail but a small sign on the gates would be enough not a massive large sign. The reason for this sign at Choughs Nest is unclear, left hand side of the road is a high wall, and half of Villa Spaldi has a low wall, the end is indeed without a wall
We move on : hidden in a mass of stinging nettles there is an old ENP courtesy sign which says "Goats Grazing keep dogs under control" (there is also on at the Castle Rock end of the path)
Now we take the dog off the lead, and move on to the gate in the stock fence, which has a standard small sign shut the gate. Oh dear doggie comes around the corner and sees 8 ponies barks and chases them and they stampede along the Coastal Path. The accident scenario if a group of people were walking along the path could be serious.
But of course the Council does not have to follow GAP recommendations and inform the public that there are grazing ponies. Surely the Council are negligible in their Public duty by not doing all in their powers to prevent such an event. There is lack of a warning notice. Such matters were to be discussed by the Valley of Rocks Management Group, which is supposed to be the Councils management arm to preserve, conserve and manage VoR in the National Park which is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) This management also has outside representation including English Nature and Exmoor National Park. The problem - IT HAS NEVER MET AND THERE HAS BEEN TOTALLY NO EVALUATION OF THE SITUATION IN THE VALLEY
(http://www.grazinganimalsproject.info) is a partnership of 20 organizations run by the Royal SocietyWildlife Trust and one of its working areas is the co-ordination of some 100 local grazing schemes
It advises on many things besides placing signs on all access gates. Including:
But these are only recommendations so the Council can reinvent its own wheel! And the last surprise-- even more fences this time where they are not needed
The fencing from the cricket ground to Mother Meldrum's has been in a dangerous broken condition for some time, and has been grazed by the goats and also the ponies. It is rumoured that a stock fence is coming here or does this also mean that the cricket club is also in a new phase of expansion? All that is needed is the old wire removed to give an open area instead of a long line of fencing.