QUANTOCK Hills National Landscape Partnership are saddened to see an increase in senseless joy riding activity across Quantock Common.

This has caused significant damage to the special plants and biodiversity, one of the features that make the Quantock Hills special.

Quantock Common has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) by Natural England.

As well as the heathland plants such as ling heather and cross-leaved heath, rare boggy areas known as acid flushes have developed at the sources of the springs.

Iain Porter, Quantock Hills National Landscape Manager said: "We really want to draw attention to the fact that parking on the verges is really damaging to the rare plants and wildlife of the Quantock Hills, especially at this time of year.

"There are plenty of car parking areas with hard surfaces, so please do stick to those. You may also be committing a crime either by driving off of a highway or by damaging the SSSI."

The resultant habitat supports a diverse range of locally scarce plants including the insectivorous Round-leaved Sundew, Bog Pimpernel, Common Cottongrass, Cross-leaved Heath, Marsh Pennywort, Bog Asphodel, Star sedge, and the soft absorbent Sphagnum mosses, to name but a few.

John Andrews, Chair of Friends of the Quantocks, said: “Friends of the Quantocks is in the fortunate position to own some of the land on Quantock Common, for the benefit of the wildlife and people who live and visit this special area. It is upsetting to see the damage caused by senseless actions of a few.

"The Partnership, which includes landowners, Quantock Commoners Association, Natural England, and other local organisations is reminding people to only park in designated car parks and if you see any suspicious activity, we would really appreciate any information you can pass on to us."

Report any suspicious activity to the office on 01823 451884, or email quantockhills@somerset.gov.uk.

If you believe the activity to be illegal, call the police on 999 for urgent and serious issues or 101.