Commons rangers get ‘kick in the teeth’ from costly vandalism

Rangers and volunteers who work hard year-round to maintain and enhance the ecology of the downland around Coulsdon have been rocked this week by vandalism at Farthing Downs, which is likely to cost thousands of pounds from an already stretched budget.

Farthing Downs has been badly hit by vandalism

In a heartfelt message posted on social media, rangers who work for the City Commons team described the vandalism as “a kick in the teeth”.

Just weeks after new electric gates were repaired at the car park on Farthing Downs – a security measure introduced to stop the dumping of unwanted and sometimes stolen vehicles in the natural beauty spot – vandals struck again this week.

“We are sad and shocked that someone has vandalised the electric gates to the car park at Farthing Downs only a few weeks after having been repaired,” the rangers wrote.

“We aim to provide an exceptional service for everyone, so this is a kick in the teeth not only to us but the many visitors to Farthing Downs each day.

“As a registered charity protecting nationally important open spaces, fixing and repairing them will cost us time and over £1,000 we don’t have, preventing us from managing our commons for wildlife, people and nature.

“We hope to get the car park barriers fixed as soon as possible and would like to thank all our supporters.”

The City Commons team had to deal with other incidents of crime and even attacks on the livestock which graze the commons last year.

Since 2019, around 1,000 acres of the chalk downland across Riddlesdown, Farthing Downs, Happy Valley, through to Kenley Common, Sanderstead and Whyteleafe, has been formally granted National Reserve status, and declared by Natural England as the “South London Downs”.

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