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Overnight camping withdrawn at Ayres National Nature Reserve

Thursday, 29 December 2022

Caravan stuck in soil damage in the AyresMotorhomes and campervans will no longer be permitted to camp overnight at the Ayres National Nature Reserve (ANNR) as a permanent measure.

The ANNR forms part of a wider Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI), established in 1996 and since extended, and is owned by the Department of the Environment, Food and Agriculture and Manx National Heritage.

Use of the area in recent years by motorhomes and campervans has led to the turf on the dune grassland suffering increasing amounts of damage. A number of vans became stuck during 2022 despite length restrictions being introduced for overnight stay permits.

Late night incidents involving camp fires and vehicles being driven at high speed have also led to police attendance.

In order to protect the site’s status as an ASSI, the Department has chosen to focus on the area’s natural assets and on the quiet enjoyment of the area by the wider community.

Vehicles will still be able to access the Recreation Area, but permits to allow overnight camping have been permanently withdrawn.

Environment, Food and Agriculture Minister Clare Barber MHK said:

‘The decision to close camping at the Ayres permanently is regrettable but necessary to preserve the integrity of the area and its unique characteristics.

‘A number of options were explored with regard to how motorhomes and camper vans may continue to be accommodated overnight. However, the investment required was disproportionate to the number of users recorded in the past year.

‘As well as significant changes to the road infrastructure and creating additional passing places, this cost included the need for patrols due to incidents of anti-social behaviour.’

Anyone who was planning to camp overnight at the ANNR next year is encouraged to consider alternatives, most of which can be found on the Visit camping and glamping webpage.

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