Reader's Letter: Protecting one of our local beauty spots

Whilst the good weather we had during the first lockdown got many of us out walking and discovering parts of Wilmslow and the surrounding areas that we didn't know exist, it also sometimes seemed to attract large (and probably illegal in the context of the COVID restrictions) gatherings of teenagers meaning often inevitable underage drinking, smoking cannabis, littering and generally causing a public nuisance.

I was also young myself once and used to meet up with my friends, but I don't recall participating in the blatant anti-social behaviour I've witnessed over the last couple of months on the stretch of the River Bollin in Wilmslow Park, which now seems to have become a regular meeting place for large groups of teenagers in their 'uniforms' of black head to toe sports gear, which itself I could imagine could be quite intimidating to some people.

One such occasion only a couple of weeks ago involved a group of c30 teenagers (I'd say average age of 14 or 15) gathered at the weir on the river, some of whom thought it was a great idea to jump from a great height into the river below. I was walking with my 9-year-old daughter and wife and sadly my daughter had to ask what they were all smoking, which I explained was a type of drug. Beer bottles and cans along with all sorts of other litter were spread all over, so I made a point of clearing their mess up in front of them which got the usual 'do-gooder' Geers.

That same evening, I was walking across the bridge over the River Bollin where Cheshire East Council had put out some temporary barriers and cones to create a barrier around part of the pavement which has collapsed. I was dismayed to see that (undoubtedly the same group of teenagers) had thrown all of the traffic cones over the bridge, into the river.

My 9-year-old daughter and I decided to do something about it this weekend and between us we managed to extract 16 traffic cones from the river and return them to their rightful place. Thankfully I'd bought some waders which I knew would come in handy one day, particularly getting some of the cones from the deeper section of the river.

I can't take all the credit as another good citizen had removed a fair few cones from the shallower section, which I then took back up to the roadside.

My fear is that I'll walk back down and see them all thrown back into the river again.

I am a huge supporter of our police so I won't be 'bashing' then in any way, but going forward I will be putting a call in to the local police to report any large gatherings of teenagers along this stretch of the river, particularly if they're partaking in the same activities, I've outlined above.

Yes, I know teenagers need to socialise and 'let their hair down' etc., but equally everyone else in the Wilmslow community should be able to enjoy this same local beauty spot without feeling intimidated or having to clear up their mess!



Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Alan Slater
Monday 21st June 2021 at 4:38 pm
I find letters written in this way to be troubling.
Just because there was an unruly mob of teenagers in the park does not prove that they were responsible for the subsequent throwing of traffic cones into the river.
It is quite possible that responsibility lies with them - but, equally, others could have been involved.

Do not make unprovable assumptions.
Terry Roeves
Monday 21st June 2021 at 5:24 pm
Mr Slater, we should all commend Mr Hodgson and his daughter for their clean up work in and along our river.
They are to be congratulated.
Well done Mr Hodgson and daughter!
Matthew Cheetham
Monday 21st June 2021 at 7:01 pm
Well done Mr Hodgson and Miss Hodgson. A commendable public spirited act. Green waders suit you.

Mr Slater…I suggest you don’t read the letters if you find them “troubling”.
Tina Wilcott
Monday 21st June 2021 at 7:08 pm
A really good letter, congrats on the clean up.... as it has been some time since I have seen our local Wilmslow pensioners undertaking the exciting sport of cone throwing in preparation for the olympics, I suspect your conclusions to be correct. You should be thanked for all your efforts.
Helen Battilana
Tuesday 22nd June 2021 at 7:32 pm
I'm very grateful for your clearing efforts. Thank you both.
Roger Hill
Wednesday 23rd June 2021 at 10:22 am
I have to confess to being the one who waded into the river initially to extract 8 or so traffic cones, only to find two thrown back in by late afternoon ! Thank you, Mr Hodgson and Miss Hodgson, for reaching the ones I couldn't.

I am involved with the Wilmslow Park Road Users Association and we are negotiating with the Council to repair the collapsed pavement by the bridge. I hope the cones remain where they currently reside !
Jo McGuire
Wednesday 23rd June 2021 at 3:35 pm
Thank you Matthew Hodgson.
Diane Holcroft
Wednesday 23rd June 2021 at 4:29 pm
Teenagers as we all were at one time love to have fun and rightfully so but I wonder why there are many young people that were not raised as most of the teens that I hung out with back in the day.
We never ever dropped or discarded any rubbish when we were out.
Maybe because we didn’t drink, smoke anything, or have take out containers back then but maybe also because we were taught to respect for the environment as well as our homes?
I can only imagine the homes these kids live in are also reflection of how they view the outdoors, too.