Friends of The Raven

Illegal Camping at Raven Woods

Friends of The Raven, a group set up in the past year to keep a watchful eye on Raven Woods, have been very busy of late on the litter collection front. They have reported groups of youths camping in the woods and creating an unsightly and hazardous mess – bottles, cans, food packaging, one-use bbq kits have been collected in follow-up cleaning operations. These groups also light camp-fires in the woods sometimes even cutting down trees to add to the fire (which, of course, never burn!). The danger presented by camp fires is an obvious one – a huge area of the woods burned down several years back. Raven Woods is a Special Area of Conservation under the stewardship of the National Parks & Wild Life Service (with Coillte having responsibility for trees). No camping, fires or littering is allowed in the area. Friends of The Raven say there have been no prosecutions for offences in the area yet. They want to see a more rigorous application of the law so that a clear message goes out that inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated in this, and other, SACs. They have even suggested that there may be a case to be made in Europe if the authorities fail to properly protect our SACs.
Among the group’s main aims for The Raven are (a) the appointment of a full-time warden; (b) extensive signage notifying visitors of the various applicable regulations; (c) more frequent weekend monitoring/policing; (d) more stringent application of the law. They are also calling on Wexford County Council and An Garda Suiochana to be more proactive at preventing theft from automobiles parked at car-parks in the general area (Ballinesker, White Gap and Culleton’s Gap, as well as Wexford Wildfowl Reserve). One possible deterrent is the installation of motion-sensor CCTV cameras. They also ask that the public be more vigilant and more willing to report instances of bad behaviour.
One thing is certain: if it were not for the work of Friends of The Raven this area would be in an awful condition.

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