Wheelies on the sand

SIR - Walking along Saunton Sands last week I passed an apparent motor cycle/quad bike event with some 40 onlookers present. The bikes were doing wheelies on the sand plus making a track circuit by riding up into the dunes and back along the beach.

SIR - Walking along Saunton Sands last week I passed an apparent motor cycle/quad bike "event" with some 40 onlookers present. The bikes were doing "wheelies" on the sand plus making a track circuit by riding up into the dunes and back along the beach. When I later walked into the dunes I was surprised to discover a well-used vehicle track along the coastal ridge for about two miles. Presumably this is for four-wheel-drive vehicles as an alternative to the beach where wheels can sometimes get stuck in unexpected patches of soft sand. This is the 100th anniversary year of "the great flood" when the River Taw bank was breached and much of lower Braunton, Wrafton and Chivenor were flooded, and many cattle lost. There has always been public concern since then whether or not the dunes at Saunton Sands are a reliable natural protective barrier against the incursion of the sea to Braunton. This protection is now ever more important if a predicted rise in the sea level becomes a reality. So why is there seemingly such disinterest these days in protecting the dunes at Saunton Sands and on Braunton Burrows from vehicle damage? Several years ago there was a resident warden at Saunton Sands Car Park who was on the spot to deal efficiently with any mistreatment of this "Biosprere Reserve area - one of the world's most special places for both people and nature" (according to the current notice). However, there is no resident warden today. Perhaps now this coastal track across the ridge of the dunes could next become a regular coast road, which is then flanked by high-rise buildings with the tourist slogan "Come to Saunton Sands -- the Benidorm of North Devon." J.G. Millar, Braunton.


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