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Anger as cycling churns up Davy Down
7:00am Wednesday 24th October 2012 in News
A POPULAR cycle race has “desecrated” a local beauty spot, according to visitors.
Davy Down nature park, in North Stifford, hosted more than 250 cross-country cyclists on Sunday in the Elmy Cycles Eastern Cyclocross.
It is the fourth year Davy Down, a hidden gem just off of Pilgrims Lane, has hosted the event, which is growing in popularity year after year.
But the weekend’s bad weather led to parts of the picturesque meadow being torn up, leaving unsightly muddy trails across it.
Jane Baker, of Chafford Hundred, who walks her dogs through the park every day, was disappointed to find the park in such a bad way on Monday morning. She said: “The cycles have churned up the the grass. It’s appalling. I’ve never seen anything like it.
“We love it at Davy Down, but it’s in the park’s own rules and regulations that users should leave the park as they found it.
“It’s absolutely fabulous that we’ve got something like that on our doorstep in estuary Essex. I know we can’t help the weather, but they must have seen what they’ve done. The event should have been postponed.”
But park warden Steven Mitchell doesn’t believe there’s any lasting damage to the park and said the pros of welcoming a big event to Thurrock far outweigh the minuses.
He said: “The event is becoming a victim of its own success. We had twice as many contestants as last year and loads of kids here enjoying themselves.
“All it wants is a rain shower to wash the mud off the grass. By the end of the week it will be 80 per cent better.
“I am concerned it’s concerning site visitors, but this is a big event that brings people into Thurrock from outside the borough. It’s about weighing up the advantages and the disadvantages.
“The fact we had lots of people and kids here enjoying themselves on Sunday, as part of a well-organised British cycling event outweighs, I think, the temporary damage.”