FURY: Middleton-in-Teesdale
FURY: Middleton-in-Teesdale

USED nappies, human waste and food rubbish left at an upper dale beauty spot by irresponsible campers has sparked complaints from visitors.

Middleton-in-Teesdale’s Tourist Information Centre has received a “worrying” number of complaints about the state of the camping area at the bottom of Beck Road.

The issue has been cropping up for the past couple of years but recently it has got worse, according to Denise Charlton who is the operation team representative at the centre. Ms Charlton raised her concerns at Middelton-in-Teesdale and Newbiggin Parish Council’s annual parish meeting last week. She said: “We’ve had reports of young people drinking down there and someone said they were taking drugs. Food is just chucked everywhere. We found toilet paper strewn all over and a bag in the river but we did not investigate what was in the bag.

“There have also been used nappies. They had not even bothered to put them in a bag. Someone was walking their dog down there and their dog ate human waste.

“They are rowdy, noisy and spoiling it for everyone else.”

The site, which lies next to the Hudeshope Beck and forms part of a popular walking route, is an annual stop over point for gypsies. However, Ms Charlton stressed that the travellers were not to blame.

She said: “I spoke to the travellers last year about it and even they complained.

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“Their family had been going to that spot since the early 1900s. They clear up after themselves.”

Parish clerk Judith Mashiter confirmed that the issue was out of the parish council’s remit as the land is owned by Raby Estates. However, councillors were willing to discuss the problem at their next meeting. Meanwhile, chief executive of Raby Estates Duncan Peake said it is a matter which the estate and the parish must deal with together. Mr Peake said: “The estate can’t be responsible for dealing with all the litter on all the areas we manage. We do our best.

“We have an agreement with the parish council where the people of Middleton-in-Teesdale are given access to that area. It is an issue for the parish as well as the estate.”

Mr Peake said that he would be willing to discuss the matter with the parish council to try to look at ways to resolve it.

He said: “Rural littering is a massive problem across all of our land holdings. Our staff clear rubbish from there from time to time. It is not the only location where we get that sort of problem. It is a very difficult issue.”

He added that any evidence of illegal activities taking place at the site would be reported to the police.

Ms Charlton added: “It is a destination for tourists and we do not want to put them off. When people are coming in to the tourist information centre to complain it is worrying. We rely on tourism.”