Country park rangers are spending more time litter picking than conservation work amid a spike in visitors leaving rubbish everywhere.

Lockdown saw more people getting back to nature, heading out to enjoy the beautiful open spaces that the county boasts.

And as restrictions eased and the weather started to get warmer, even more people have been heading to the three Buckinghamshire Council-run country parks – Black Park, Langley Park and Denham Country Park.

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But as visitors increased, so did the amount of litter left strewn across the parks.

In a video message, Buckinghamshire Council park ranger Ben said dumped rubbish has always been a problem, but it has spiralled in the last few months.

He said: “While general litter has always been a problem, in recent months this problem has grown – at the point now where myself and the team are spending more and more time litter-picking and less and less time doing conservation and practical landscape management.

“This work is important to the parks as it ensures the landscape can be enjoyed by future generations and that wildlife can continue to live and thrive in the parks.”

It is not the first time Buckinghamshire Council has urged visitors to enjoy the parks responsibly and not leave litter.

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Just weeks three weeks after the parks were allowed to reopen in May, they released a shocking photo of cows surrounded by plastic bags and rubbish that had been left on land just outside one of the parks.

Ben added: “Dropping litter is disrespectful to the space and the natural beauty of the park. Please dispose of your litter in the bins provided – don’t leave stuff on benches or tables to be blown away or picked up by us or lost forever.

“If you come across a bin that is already full, please take your litter home with you.”