Youngsters and BMX riders are being blamed for criminal damage at Kenilworth Common after fires, damaged trees and makeshift jumps were found.
Volunteers from Warwickshire Wildlife Trust were “appalled” after finding a series of substantial earthworks at the nature reserve while undertaking meetings at the site.
Divots, large holes, hillocks, mounds, and even steps cut into a bank were all discovered on the common.
A small pond was partially filled-in and strewn with branches, and damage to trees was spotted.
Council workers found extensive cycle tyre tracks and soil erosion, pointing to the construction of a makeshift off-piste course, being used by mountain and or BMX bikers.
Police have also been out to reports of fires at the reserve in what had caused anger among wildlife volunteers and Common users.
The extensive change in an attempt to create features has damaged tree routesMoira-Ann Grainger
Warwick District Councillor, Moira-Ann Grainger, portfolio holder for health and community protection, expressed upset at the damage which is being investigated.
”Kenilworth Common is a special place for residents and visitors but a few people are spoiling the enjoyment of others by damaging the woodland environment,” she said.
“The extensive change in an attempt to create features has damaged tree roots.”
The council is working with officers from Warwickshire Police who regularly patrol the reserve, as well as with volunteers from Warwickshire Wildlife Trust to begin repairs to the woods.
Volunteers said that as well as being classed as criminal damage, the makeshift jumps could result in the loss of “valuable wildlife”, including ground flora, amphibians and invertebrates that use the pond for breeding and refuge.
Kenilworth sergeant David Kettle said town youths had been caught making fires at the site this year, and urged anyone with information to come forward.
“Police and Fire and Rescue attended a fire on the common and the culprits, who were local youths, were apprehended.
“These are criminal offences.”
The common is used for an annual Cyclocross race on Boxing Day where hundreds turn out to race bikes through a set trail in the woods.
Anyone with information on damage should contact police on 101.