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Help to keep the beauty at Dove Stone this summer

Last modified: 12 July 2013

Father, son and daughter feeding ducks at Dove Stone

Instead of leaving litter, let’s only leave footprints and take away memories

Image: Ben Hall

Summer is finally here – providing the perfect weather for people to enjoy Dove Stone and an opportunity for RSPB and United Utilities staff to launch an appeal.

Alongside encouraging visitors to this popular beauty spot, the RSPB and United Utilities staff are also appealing for people to tidy up after themselves and remember the wildlife and birds which make their homes at Dove Stone.

Miriam Biran, RSPB Visitor Services Manager at Dove Stone, said: “With its glistening reservoirs, open green space, woods and picturesque views, it is no surprise that Dove Stone remains a popular place.

“There’s plenty for people to do, from enjoying a picnic, taking a leisurely stroll or having a paddle in Chew Brook, and it’s fantastic to see so many people enjoying the great outdoors.

However, with the arrival of summer, we are appealing for visitors to treat the site with respect and take pride in the area by taking their rubbish home with them.”

Staff have noticed an increase in litter left at Dove Stone following warm weekends or evenings, which not only spoils the appearance of the site for other visitors, but also presents a possible danger to sheep and other animals.

Miriam added: “The simple message is - if you bring it to Dove Stone, then you take it away. The responsibility really does sit with visitors to help us to keep the place looking lovely and we ask them to leave the site as they would like to find it.

“Litter is a major problem that you don’t expect to see in the countryside. We have often cleared up over 60 bags of rubbish following a hot weekend, with the help of local volunteers who dislike litter and love Dove Stone. Without their help, we would struggle.

People have asked why we don’t provide more bins, but these would not be needed if people took their rubbish home or used one of the many bins which Oldham Council have provided in the car park.”

“As the RSPB is a nature conservation charity, we would prefer to spend our vital funds on conserving and managing this fantastic landscape, helping to ensure nature will always have a home here for future generations to enjoy.”

Visitors are also being encouraged to act responsibly at Dove Stone as staff are reminding people of the dangers of using open fires and jumping into the reservoir.

Miriam said: “Barbeques and open fires are great in the garden at home or dedicated areas, but as Dove Stone can be windy and the grass is very dry, there is a real danger of open flames getting quickly out of control and destroying large areas of moorland and trees.

“While the reservoir may look like an inviting place to jump in to cool down, it holds hidden dangers. As the water is deep it can be much colder than it looks, which can be enough of a shock to the body to make it impossible to swim out.

“With people sometimes throwing bottles and other sharp objects into the water, as well as there being large rocks which can be hidden from view, it is impossible to know what you’re going to land on or whether you will get out.

“We really encourage people to visit Dove Stone, as there’s plenty to enjoy from admiring the flowers, watching the butterflies and bees or even dipping a toe in the streams, but we ask people to stay safe and remember to treat it as a place we can all be proud of. Instead of leaving litter, let’s only leave footprints and take away memories.”

Dove Stone reservoir is owned by United Utilities and the water company works in partnership with the RSPB, who manage the estate.  The partnership aims to encourage public access and recreation, while protecting water quality and wildlife for future generations. 

How you can help

RSPB reserves are great places for a day out

Nature reserves

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