At this time of year Otmoor RSPB reserve in Oxfordshire fills up with people in the mid afternoon. They have come to watch the murmuration of starlings in the reed beds. It’s a fabulous sight, as I describe here.
But nearly everyone comes by car, and there are too many. When I visited on Tuesday I escaped just in time in the afternoon and met droves of people heading for the reed beds. The car-park takes about 30 cars but there were many more, parked on the verges of the single-track, dead-end, Otmoor Lane, creating a muddy mess which, when it freezes, would become dangerous.
I have no solution to offer, but it is unsatisfactory and likely to get more congested as the starlings become more popular. There is little space to park in Beckley village a mile away at the top of the lane, and you cannot know, when you set off down the lane, whether the car-park at the bottom is full or not.
While I am delighted that so many people are discovering the joys of nature, I am worried that Otmoor cannot cope with the car-pressure.