Serious damage to Liddaton Down was discovered it on 10th September 2017. A large, probably four-wheel-drive, tractor with a heavy duty ‘topper’ has been driven around the south-east quadrant of the Down creating a three to four-metre wide track. It has smashed into a particularly sensitive area for butterflies which the Brentor Commons Association have been managing for some years and has caused irreparable damage.
Will Walker-Smith, a member of the Association, has spoken to some of the Commoners and they have no idea who has done this. The Police have visited the site twice and it have recorded the damage as a crime. The Association is receiving advice from The Open Spaces Society and Devon Wildlife Trust and the damage has been featured in the Tavistock Times and will be on the Western Morning News. The pattern of destruction is has been recorded using a Drone camera.
Some small trees have already been planted into the illegal access gaps to make it obvious that it is illegal to drive onto the Commons and signs with information about the damage, crime reference number etc will be erected.
The land is owned by the Brentor Commons Association and managed as a wildlife reserve with open access for members of the public. The Commoners have rights to graze cattle, sheep and pigs, remove stone, turfs, bracken and sedge from the Common. The commons have not been grazed for many years and have been owned by the Brentor Commons Association since 2004.
It is thought that the track may have been cut to create some form of ‘off-road’ track for either motorised trail bikes or, even worse, for four- wheel drive vehicles.
The area is being monitored on a daily basis and all people are asked to report any incursions to the police or the Brentor Commons Association.