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Gaddings Dam warning to visitors

Alert message sent 08/08/2020 09:01:00

Information sent on behalf of West Yorkshire Police

Police and Todmorden councillors are appealing to visitors planning to visit a local beauty spot to park and behave responsibly.

Visitor numbers at Gaddings Dam, Lumbutts, have rocketed in the past few years following extensive publicity for the area dubbed 'the highest beach in England' by national and social media.

Despite the introduction of double yellow lines, increased police and warden presence and other preventative measures by Calderdale Council, visitors continue to flock to the area and over 100 parking tickets were issued over a recent Bank Holiday.

Residents remain concerned about parking problems for residents and say they have also suffered rudeness and unpleasant behaviour from some of the visitors. 

Gaddings Dam, a Victorian mill dam set in moorland at the top of a steep hill, has no access by road.  It can only be reached on foot via two rugged and very steep footpaths.  There are no facilities for swimmers at the dam:  no toilets, lifeguards, changing rooms or cafés.

Mayor of Todmorden Ruth Coleman-Taylor appealed to visitors not to try to reach the dam by car.  “Walkers are of course welcome, but a minority of visitors have created problems on the very narrow road by parking on double yellow lines, in gateways or in people's gardens.  Cars which are causing obstruction have been towed away and many parking tickets issued, but on sunny weekends there has still been complete chaos at the bottom of the hill up to Gaddings Dam."  

Councillor Susan Press, Calderdale MBC Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, said:

“Blocking access to local properties and farmland and restricting access for both the local bus service and emergency vehicles, by parking on double yellow lines, is simply not acceptable.
“We love visitors to come and enjoy our wonderful countryside and stunning views, but this needs to be done in a respectful and caring way so that the area is protected from over- use and is safe to visit.

Calderdale valleys Neighbourhood Policing Inspector, Ben Doughty, said: “Local officers will be deployed in to the area in support of Council Community Safety wardens and Parking services. Those found to be parking illegally or causing an obstruction, risk facing a fixed penalty ticket of their vehicle been removed”.

Todmorden  councillors urge visitors to behave responsibly and obey the Country Code, leaving gates closed, taking litter home, respecting wildlife and farmed animals as well as following guidelines to  protect  the open moorland  from fire risk by leaving barbecues and cigarettes at home.

Stoodley councillor Pat Taylor warned people to use the signed footpaths from the road up to the Dam and to use proper footwear.

“Some visitors have created an unofficial track, which is now very eroded and slippery.  We have had some serious accidents, requiring the Fell Rescue Team and Ambulance.   It is not possible to get to the dam either on the official or unofficial tracks with baby buggies or any other kind of wheels and proper footwear is essential.  Young children may also find the steep rugged paths difficult to climb.”  
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Ben Doughty (Police, NPT Inspector, CD Calderdale)

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