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Ghost hunters in ‘screaming’ Dering Wood, Pluckley, force Woodland Trust to pay thousands in security and vandalism clean-ups

PUBLISHED: 09:14 03 October 2017

Dering Wood

Dering Wood

Archant

Those seeking their own version of Blair Witch force thousands to be spent in security

Dering WoodDering Wood

One of the most haunted spots in Britain - infamous due to screams heard in the night - has been vandalised by vandals and ghost hunters.

Dering Wood, in Pluckley, near Ashford, is a popular draw for those seeking out the paranormal, but now damage caused to the area has forced the Woodland Trust to stump up nearly £50,000 in seecurity and clean-up costs.

And now it is urging those planning a visit later this month for Halloween to respect the area and keep it preserved.

Over the last three years, the conservation charity has spent just under £41,000 employing a security firm.

Between 2012 and 2016 the trust has also spent £6,070 on regular litter picks, clearing away rubbish and cleaning or replacing vandalised signs.

Site manager Clive Steward said: “Dering has always attracted ghost hunters due to the noises that come out of the woods but the screams they hear are nothing more than amorous foxes.

“The damage being caused by these overnight visits is unsustainable. We have to employ security guards to evict people from the wood after dark and then we have to break up camps and deal with the damage caused by fires or vandalism.

“As a charity we rely on donations from people as passionate about trees and conservation as us. We shouldn’t have to dig into our much–needed funds to patrol the woods and clear up the mess left behind by irresponsible visitors.

“We want people to enjoy the woods, but to consider other users and treat the site with the care it deserves.”

Night-time activity is also a risk to the varied wildlife in the woods.

Mr Steward added: “Dormice, bats and badgers are all nocturnal animals which live at Dering. All have European protected status, and all are at risk of being disturbed. We want to drive out the anti-social behaviour, not our wildlife.”

Dering Wood is an ancient, semi-natural woodland. It harbours an amazing array of plants as well as wonderful wildlife, such as nightingales, dormice and many species of butterfly – but no ghosts.

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