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'Please stay away': Tourists asked to reconsider day trips as Shropshire beauty spot overwhelmed again

By Lisa O'Brien | Church Stretton | Coronavirus | Published:

Tourists have been asked to stay away from a south Shropshire town for the time-being after it became overwhelmed with visitors.

Pic: Worker Drones UK

The area around Church Stretton, which is close to the popular National Trust site Carding Mill Valley, was inundated with more than 1,000 cars at the weekend.

A recreation field was opened up as an overflow car park on Saturday, when the National Trust's car park reached capacity.

Photo: Midlands Today

Church Stretton Town Council said the measure was put in place to deter drivers from blocking pavements, side roads and driveways, which had happened on Bank Holiday Monday.

But the move was met with a mixed response by residents.

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Church Stretton's mayor, Councillor Bob Welch said: "Over 1,000 cars came in the town on Saturday.

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"The National Trust had expanded its capacity a little but it was still insufficient to contain the crowds.

"We opened up an overflow car park on one of our playing fields. We had over 400 cars on the playing field on Saturday."

He said it was hoped the overflow parking would deter drivers from blocking side roads and parking dangerously, and added that due to fewer visitors on Sunday it hadn't needed to open.

Photo: Midlands Today

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Councillor Welch has also urged people to be cautious about visiting the beauty spot.

He said: "During this crucial period of the easing of the lockdown we would ask people to defer coming to Carding Mill Valley until infection levels are lower and shops reopen.

"As a town we need visitors to restore our local economy but we want visitors to be respectful of the concerns of local residents."

Photo: Midlands Today

He said the council would be looking to have discussions with other agencies with regards to a tourism strategy, to try to disperse visitors more widely across the area in the future.

Some people praised the new parking strategy on Saturday, while others vented their frustrations on social media that it was stopping others from being able to use the field for activities.

Worker Drones UK posted on Facebook: "Well done Church Stretton Town Council and everyone else who has helped to alleviate the parking issues that residents faces on Bank Holiday Monday. Carding Mill is still at maximum capacity but at least the new parking scheme seems to working."

Cars parked in Church Stretton blocked pavements as visitors flocked to the Town on bank holiday Monday

Others were not so happy about the parking arrangements.

Hailey Wilson posted on Facebook: "Not excellent at all. I know many local people haven't been able to go out for daily walk and the two main shops that are open are struggling with the high demand of food because of the visitors coming.

"Carding Mill Valley should be closed for long distance visitors (until the risk is at an all time low) and open to locals because Stretton is a community that is 70 per cent elderly people and these visitors are putting them at risk and also taking away opportunity for locals to buy food without having to leave Stretton.

"The mess they are leaving is such as a shame as it's such a naturally beautiful spot.

"Nothing is open to the visitors apart from two shops and the valley. Why go now?! Why not wait until there is less risk or no risk. The valley will still be there!"

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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