|Presenting a guest blog from Wednesday’s Verderers Court, a Presentment from Lyndsey Stride on some of the unintended consequences of Dragons Teeth.|
Good morning OV, V and MOP.
Thank you to the Verderers and Forestry Commission for their efforts to protect the verges of the New Forest Crown Lands. I know that dragons teeth have been a very positive management tool over many years around car parks in the New Forest.
Can you reassure us that plans and funds are in place for the long term management of the new roadside dragons teeth and the verges? And that where you displace parked cars you have considered and mitigated for the impact on the flow of traffic and identified alternative parking particularly when it is linked to housing or pubs? And that you are in consultation with the Highways Authorities and Emergency Services before you implement your plans?
Our experience in Emery Down shows that dragons teeth are both a benefit and a curse.
The dragons teeth put in on the Bolderwood road in 2018 have pushed parked cars on to the opposite soft verge causing significant damage.
- The displaced traffic park alongside the new dragons teeth preventing large vehicles such as fire engines and tractors with trailers from accessing the road at all, and forcing traffic to drive on the opposite side of the road towards a blind bend.
- Other vehicles park between the brow of the the hill at Northerwood Gatehouse, past the church to the New Forest Inn. This makes it very dangerous to pass with a car let alone a truck and horse box or on a bicycle. I recently witnessed a family group attempting to cycle up the hill while a Tesco delivery van drove straight towards them, having committed to the manoeuvre whilst unable to see around the bend. At times 20 or more cars are tightly parked with no passing places.
Along Mill Lane dragons teeth and passing places initially protected the verge and for perhaps five years it seemed as though it was working. However recent years have shown that dragons teeth are not the answer. Either for traffic management or verge protection.
- The bramble has taken over resulting in a loss of grazing and the
traditional verge flora and fauna.
- Animals and pedestrians are pushed on to the single track road as the scrub has encroached.
- Many dragons teeth have been driven in to and are now gone, resulting in alternative passing places being created and the verge destroyed. The hedges have been pushed back and destroyed to allow cars to pass one another on the single track road.
- It is very difficult to manage hedges beyond the dragons teeth and as a result they are in places encroaching on the verge itself.
- In summer we are unable to access the farm during peak hours and have to move animals and hay and silage early in the morning or late at night.
- Satellite navigation systems are pushing drivers on to our quieter Forest roads. Dragons teeth do not stop them coming.
These are my own views. I ask again. Have you considered and mitigated for the long term impact of the very significant number of roadside dragons teeth which you are installing as part of the HLS scheme?
Lyndsey Stride is a practicing Commoner, and also leader on the recent Commoning Voices Project / Exhibition, part of the Our Past, Our Future Heritage Lottery Fund.