Ulpha Bridge. Photo: Rob Noble CC-BY-SA-2.0

Ulpha Bridge. Photo: Rob Noble CC-BY-SA-2.0

Wild campers are causing problems in the Lake District.

Police have received complaints about anti-social behaviour, litter and human waste at Ulpha Bridge and Ulpha Flats in the Duddon Valley.

Lake District national park area ranger Chris Berry said the campers and picnickers who gather each weekend at the site in the south of the park are causing a ‘very worrying situation’ and he is working with police to deal with the problems.

He said: “We know how much people enjoy this very special place; families have visited the area for generations. But we are now seeing groups of young people putting up four or five tents on many weekends, despite the ‘no camping’ signs, and it is causing concern.”

PC John Baldwin, Ulverston’s rural community and wildlife crime officer, said Cumbria police were taking the matter seriously.

He said: “We are working in close partnership with the Lake District National Park Authority on this matter. At a recent Safer Stronger Communities meeting, local residents identified anti-social behaviour in the valley during summer months as their policing priority.

“This includes illegal camping, as well as litter, fires and parking issues.

“We take all calls seriously and deal with them on their merits. A firm line is being taken, where appropriate, to try to control these issues for the local community and wider population.”

Chris Berry added: “Confrontation is the last thing we want. We hope education and persuasion from ourselves and police will convince wild campers to use authorised sites, including a farm at Seathwaite, only four miles away.

“Turner Hall Farm is a lovely campsite, has plenty of space, and is a great base to explore the Duddon Valley. The owner of Ulpha Flats, Dunnerdale Estates, wants the current danger to environmental health and animals removed.

“Although most people are thoroughly reasonable when approached, we can’t get away from the consequences of wild camping.

“Fires leave holes in the grass and increasing volumes of litter are not only an eyesore but a threat to grazing sheep too. Worryingly, the backs of walls and bushes are being used as toilets.

“We hope people realise both we and the police are taking a strong line on this matter.”

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