My friends and I were enjoying an adventure with our kids, in the woods around Hurstwood, owned by United Utilities. We were shocked at the amount of dog dirt we came across.
It is an area I have spent many years enjoying since childhood but I have never seen it in such a state. Within 100 yards of the bin for dog waste, we spotted over 20 piles. Not quite the game we had in mind for the children: “Spot the dog muck”.
We passed a group of dog walkers – aged between 60 and 70. I said: “I hope you’ve brought your black bags?” and before we knew it, we were in the middle of an altercation. “It’s stick and flick up here” they said, which means you can flick it off the path and into the woodland – and that’s quite legal.
I was appalled at the lack of compassion they had for other people who use the area – runners, walkers, cyclists, parents with children, and responsible dog owners, many of whom probably avoid the place in fear of getting a bad name! They were so obnoxious they used strong expletives in front of our children, and said to a heavily pregnant lady in our company: “Don’t drop your baby in the woods and leave all the blood in the forest.”
I was more upset at their attitude than I was about the dog muck. What chance do we have of bringing our children up in a world where people respect one another, when even our elders and people we look up to speak to us like this? Is there anything more United Utilities can do to enable people from all walks of life to enjoy Hurstwood? The area has sadly become a doggy toilet for irresponsible dog walkers.