Vehicle Damage on Quantock Common

There has been an increase in casual nocturnal off-roading on both sides of the Stowey – Crowcombe Road with considerable damage around the Dead Woman’s Ditch Car Park. That is in addition to the damage caused by an all night rave in the Summer which kept people awake in the surrounding villages several miles away.

The people who do these things doubtless think it is harmless fun but unfortunately they are wrong. There is damage to the rare plants of the SSSI, to the underlying archaeological features, as well as disturbance to wildlife and the mess made is unsightly, spoiling the enjoyment of those who see it and telling all the world that the Quantock Hills are a piece of uncared for wasteland, a good place for donutting in an old car.

Friends of the Quantocks own the land around Dead Woman’s Ditch and we are working with the Police and other parties to put a stop to both the off-road driving and the raves. Ditches, banks and boulders have helped but they aren’t a complete solution. In the past the Police have found it difficult to act, partly because the law around access to Common land, trespass, vehicle use, wildlife disturbance, protected landscapes and heritage sites is complex.

We hope to help with information about when these incidents occur and to make sure they know exactly which laws are being broken so that they have the right knowledge if not to make arrests then at least to warn off the perpetrators with a genuine threat of prosecution for a clear criminal offense.