We live in a very beautiful location immediately alongside Parkhurst Forest at the north east corner.

Our corner and Marks Corner have, for many years, been popular locations for dog walkers and, of course, there has always been a minority who arrived completely unprepared and with no intention of clearing up.

Throughout lockdown there was a very visible increase in the number of owners parking in the road so they could enjoy a walk.

This is actually very good to see as many were bringing along their children and introducing them to the delights of walking in green space,

I’m definitely all for that.

But unfortunately with this surge in the number of dog walkers enjoying the forest has come a proliferation of excrement left in the middle of the paths and immediately alongside, in what should be a wild flower verge.

Also a trail of human detritus is left scattered where cars park and along the routes to and from the forest.

The situation really got to me last weekend because I’m recovering from hip surgery and our birdwatching friend is also needing to use a walking stick.

We drove over to Tuckers Gate on the Forest Road for our annual nightjar walk.

Amazingly, just a very short walk from that busy road these elusive birds can be heard chirring and be seen taking flight and clapping their wings — a wonderful annual treat.

Thankfully we had taken head torches and as soon as we walked past the gate could see that the path ahead was a ‘minefield’’ of heap upon heap of dog excrement.

We did manage to negotiate these obstacles but it really poses the question and perhaps someone reading this will have the answer as to why so many dog owners regard our beautiful Island countryside as one big dog toilet?

It’s even worse if it’s on farm land where grazing animals have an unwelcome garnish on their meals and on one farm I’m familiar with, a field of grass was so badly dog fouled that it could not be harvested as winter forage.

Forestry England have recently put signs at Hillis Gate and Marks Corner requesting that dog walkers clear up after their dogs so I will now ask them to put one at Tuckers Gate but will that polite request be heeded?

It’s such anti social behaviour as so many people without dogs also enjoy walking in Parkhurst Forest and are having continually to watch where they and especially their children are walking.

Pushchair wheels and bicycle tyres can so easily become ‘dog fouled’ requiring a clean up job before reloading the car.

So a message to all dog owners — if it’s your dog, it’s your poo...so please bag it, take it home and bin it.

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