WALKERS, bird watchers and users of the Tarka Trail say they are shocked after the trashing of wildlife havens at Yelland.
Large areas of reeds, shrubs and young trees have been cut down on land at the former Yelland power station site next to the estuary.
The area known as the ‘ash beds’ is next to the Isley Marsh RSPB reserve, with signs stating the Tarka Trail is within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
“I was absolutely devastated and very upset when I saw what had been done to this wonderful wildlife area,” said Yelland resident Joanne Bell, a regular visitor to the area.
“The whole place was a mass of wildflowers, young silver birches, pampas grasses, bushes and shrubs, buddleias for all the butterflies - it was a joy to walk this estuary site.
“Everything has now been hacked down. Even the wet area with bull-rushes has been trashed and turned into mud. There is now no cover, shelter or food for the birds this winter.
“I am deeply shocked that anyone in this day and age would do such a thing.”
Laurie Daunt, a regular visitor to the site and a keen birdwatcher, branded the act ‘a disgrace’: “It’s stupid and a waste of money,” he said, “why did they cut all those trees down and the shelter along the footpath?
“On top of that they have destroyed important sedge and reed warbler breeding grounds, plus the lark nesting habitat has been ruined.”
The Yelland power station site and ‘Yelland Quay’ are designated as ‘employment areas’ within the current draft Local Plan. In recent times the jetty has been used to unload cargo such as sand and timber.
Over the years since the power station closed in 1984, the site has been proposed for any number of schemes, including housing and a leisure marina complex, not to mention a solar farm and holiday village.
The North Devon Gazette has attempted to contact the owners of the site but as yet has been unable to obtain a response.