Fires and anti-social behaviour at Chesterfield nature reserve ‘getting out of hand’, says wildlife enthusiast

A volunteer working to clean up a Chesterfield nature reserve has spoken out following a series of anti-social behaviour incidents at the site.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 12:45 pm

Norbriggs Flash Nature Reserve, in Staveley, is a haven for wildlife and was restored in 2018 as part of a year-long project between Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and community volunteers funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Since funding ended and DWT took a step back, the volunteers have continued to maintain the site alongside Chesterfield Borough Council.

But, due to Covid restrictions, they have been unable to carry out the work and have seen the site be blighted by acts of vandalism with residents reporting fires being deliberitely lit in the area, litter being left, and bottles being smashed.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Volunteers say the vandalism and fires at Norbriggs Flash Nature Reserve in Staveley are getting out of hand

Sid Morris is one of around seven wildlife enthusiasts who help look after Norbriggs Flash and said the incidents are ‘getting out of hand’.

"It’s just getting out of hand a little bit,” Sid, a member of the Staveley area wildlife watch group, said.

"It’s just the random lighting of fires all over and this dry weather we’re having, if it gets hold through the reed beds there’ll be a right mess. It’ll be a catastrophy.

Residents and volunteers have raised concerns over vandalism and anti-social behaviour at Norbriggs Flash in Staveley

"It’s there for people to have a walk around and enjoy themselves because it’s just off the old Chesterfield Canal, there’s the old cut that runs from the Mastin Moor and Norbriggs area and it’s just inbetween that. But, it’s also there for nature to take advantage of it as well.

“It wants preserving and it wants looking after because it is there for the benefit of everybody.”

The group works to preserve the area for nature and pre-pandemic carried out tasks such as scrub clearance – a management process which allows more wildlife habitats to grow – and also planted Elm trees to encourage more White-letter Hairstreak butterflies to the site.

Trolleys and rubbish are among the items being left at Norbriggs Flash

Sid, who lives nearby, has continued to visit the area for exercise and said it is a ‘right mess’ at times.

Speaking to those who have been lighting the fires and causing anti-social behaviour, he added: “Just have a bit of consideration. Go and enjoy yourself down there but behaviour yourself while you’re there. We don’t mind and we love to see people down there."

A message from Phil Bramley, Derbyshire Times Editor

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper.

Trolleys and glass bottles are among the items being left at Norbriggs Flash