THOUGHTLESS visitors left one of the Peak District’s most beautiful parklands strewn with rubbish - as the same problem continues to plague Sheffield’s open spaces on a daily basis as the heatwave continues.
Sheep and deer were forced to graze amid empty beer cans, plastic bags, bottles and crisp packets in Chatsworth Park after visitors discarded their rubbish in the grassland despite being just a few hundred yards from bins at the nearby car park.
Staff at the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire’s estate filled two skips with rubbish cleared from around the park over the weekend.
One appalled visitor, Martyn Civil, a South Yorkshire Police officer, described the mess he saw on a day out with his children, Amy, aged 11, and Katie, six.
Mr Civil, 48, from Nether Green, Sheffield, said: “We were down by the river where the weir is. It’s really popular with people as they can swim in the river and take their kids for a paddle.
“I was horrified to see how the grounds were mistreated by people, most of whom were single males and females, and couples in their late teens early 20s.
“The litter they left behind was a disgrace and made me think ‘what has our society come to?’
“The area where these people were sitting was strewn with beer cans and bottles, discarded food wrappers and barbecues.
“In contrast there was an area 20 yards away with very little litter, where mostly families were sitting.
“It is sad to see people showing a total lack of respect for our countryside, especially an estate like Chatsworth.”
A Chatsworth House spokesman said: “At Chatsworth we are continually striving reduce the impact of litter to ensure that park remains a beautiful and welcoming place for our visitors, animals and wildlife.
“Keeping the park free of litter is a huge undertaking all year round, especially during periods of good weather when visitors enjoy picnics in the park.
“We have a team who litter pick across the park each morning, and this weekend the team cleared two skips worth of rubbish from the site.
“We always encourage visitors of the park to use the bins provided or take their rubbish home with them, and are looking at ways to try to reduce the problem of litter, including the provision of more bins.”
In Sheffield, council staff are still being diverted from other duties to keep parks, including Endcliffe and Devonshire Green, clean as hundreds of people gather for picnics and to drink in the sunshine.
Huwy Barber, manager at Endcliffe Park Cafe, said: “The park gets trashed pretty much on a daily basis. It would be nice if people used the bins - there are plenty of them provided.”
Coun Jack Scott, Sheffield Council cabinet member for environment, said: “I am disappointed and angered that a small minority of people are leaving our open spaces like this.
“Leaving rubbish is unhygienic, can cause problems with rats and ruin areas for other people.
“There’s a financial cost to this, too. We only have so many staff to keep parks and open spaces clean. Every hour they have to spend clearing rubbish is time which could have been spent on other duties to improve our green spaces.”