Anger as 4x4 is taken for a spin on Portsmouth nature reserve

The nature reserve area at Eastney
The nature reserve area at Eastney

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PEOPLE driving over a nature reserve teeming with wildlife has sparked anger.

The nature area to the west of Fort Cumberland at Eastney supports more than 100 plant and animal species, including rare grasses, birds of prey, bats and foxes.

But some people have been spotted driving at speed over the grassland and vegetation that is home to nesting birds.

During the summer, there were incidents of youths riding motorbikes.

The worst incident came when a large 4x4 vehicle drove over the nature reserve, which is popular with dog walkers and particularly berry pickers at this time of year.

One eyewitness, who did not want to be named, said: ‘I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it.

‘A huge black truck-like vehicle drove on to the nature reserve and started doing turns and basically trampling over all the vegetation.

‘A couple of nights before, I had seen a vixen and her cub go into a den in one spot and I regularly see birds of prey hovering over.

‘There was a family inside the car and you could see the children’s faces laughing in the back as their dad drove at speed through the reserve. I was disgusted.’

Biologist Louise MacCallum, who manages nearby Langstone Harbour, said: ‘In Portsmouth, we don’t have much open space, and nature reserves are designated because they are habitats for wildlife.

‘It’s really sad to hear people are driving over it and lessen other people’s enjoyment of that space.

‘It should be a place where people enjoy nature quietly.’

The area is listed as a local wildlife site by Portsmouth City Council and a report says the area is of ‘high wildlife quality’.

Eastney Councillor Terry Hall said she would be in touch with the wardens and more signs may be considered. She added: ‘It’s frustrating.’