Earth Trust, owners of Neptune Wood and adjoining meadow, have had a change of mind and suspended the closure of the field until the middle of July. It follows complaints from villagers who say it’s a valuable open space for dog owners and walkers.
The director of Programmes and Partnerships, Ian Nutt, said Earth Trust has taken the exceptional circumstances into consideration this year and agreed to suspend the closure of the field for a further six weeks until the middle of July.
He said: “This is to support local residents and other visitors to continue to access this valued land during the restrictions imposed on us all by the pandemic. We will, however, need to close access in mid-July for a similar period of time, in order to prepare the field for grazing.”
“This is our standard practice every three years, in order to maintain the field’s productivity, biodiversity and function for livestock and pedestrians. Signs are displayed explaining this situation to visitors. These signs are due to be updated imminently to reflect the shift on our part to the timescales.”
One of the Trust’s main concerns is dog faeces contaminating the field which make it difficult and unhealthy to cut the hay. Both the Earth Trust and the Parish Council have urged dog walkers to ensure that they collect faeces and dispose of the waste responsibly to avoid pollution of fields and footpaths.
The environmental charity has published a short article describing the changes on its website and promoted it through their Facebook page and Twitter account.
Mr Nutt said that Earth Trust wanted to engage more with the residents of Long and Little Wittenham. He said that as a charity, the Trust was constantly in need of support, not just in financial terms, but from neighbours in relation to their behaviours, usage and help in caring for our land.