VISITORS to a Ryedale beauty spot have been condemned for dumping litter, including broken bottles and camping gear.

Over the weekend reports were made of a large number of people visiting Kirkham Priory.

Clive Beadon, who lives in Westow, said: “There has been litter all week because of the kids, and adults being off school or work, and, of course, the weather.

“We cleared all the smaller stuff over the week, but in the end there were so many people, many in large groups, that it was inevitable that at the weekend Kirkham became almost impassible by the shear volume of traffic, parking and people ignoring the lockdown rules. Something of a nightmare for the local inhabitants.

“I did the bulk of it, putting most of it in my van, but many locals did some individually, including Ben Fall and Zoe Harbour, from the Stone Trough Inn.

“We worked on the premise that if you can clear an area, which was managed more easily in the abbey car park, then it it less likely people will drop litter on a clean space.

“This was compounded though by some people leaving litter, used and broken bottles, and some camping stuff dumped round a bonfire in the nearby woods.”

Cllr Keane Duncan, leader of Ryedale District Council (RDC), said: “I want to condemn the irresponsible minority of visitors who left Kirkham Abbey in this state.

“It’s so sad to see such a popular and beautiful area disrespected in this way. Thank you to locals for their hard work in tidying the mess, but you really should not have had to.

“We will use our officers, powers and resources to ensure all abide by social distancing rules, clean up after themselves and behave responsibly. We will not allow anyone to spoil the area for others.”