Signs of change

Sign 1

In September 2017 a draft sign for the entrances to South Milton Ley Nature Reserve was circulated, which caused some concern. Devon Birds was proposing a change of access policy from members only to unrestricted access for the public and their dogs. After protests and a site visit by some members of Council, the proposal was amended and dogs will continue to be excluded.

Sign 2

From my point of view, access for dogs was completely unacceptable as there will always be a small minority of irresponsible owners. The risk of an unrestrained animal either attacking birds caught in a mist net during ringing operations or simply blundering into a net and knocking it over is significant. Mist nets are easily damaged and represent a considerable financial investment on the part of a ringer and, with an average of six nets dispersed over a route of 500m, it is impossible to monitor them all continuously.

Sign 3

Having said all that, the new signs are now in place, with access to sensitive areas prohibited. Only time will tell whether this will lead to an increase in visitors or have any impact on the ecology.

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