Praise for work to restore 'beloved' and 'beautiful' Eston Hills blighted by previous anti-social behaviour

A burnt out vehicle is removed
A burnt out vehicle is removed -Credit:Facebook/Alec Brown

More car wrecks on Eston Hills have been removed amid efforts also to restore local woodland aimed at providing a better home for wildlife.

The area has been blighted in recent years by anti-social behaviour, with vehicles illegally driven onto the hills which are then abandoned and set ablaze, causing an unnecessary headache for emergency services, while off-road bikes are another frequent problem. In 2022 the Local Democracy Reporting Service reported frustrations expressed by the group the Friends of Eston Hills over abandoned cars.

Its secretary Maggie Gavaghan said the area was the “most beautiful place on earth” and explained how ditches had been dug and fencing and bollards erected in a bid to curb the problem, measures which were sometimes being circumvented by persistent vandalism. Recently Marske-based construction firm AJH Group, which has been carrying out repair work on footpaths in the area on behalf of the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, assisted in extricating the burnt out shell of one vehicle.

In a Facebook post, Redcar and Cleveland Council leader Alec Brown said he wished to give “huge thanks” to those helping to restore “our beloved Eston Hills”.

Steve Ashton, a people and wildlife manager with the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, which manages the Lazenby Bank nature reserve in the area, also described how it had felled some conifer plantations to restore deciduous trees instead, which were better for wildlife. He said: “After a quarter of a century of neglect, the conifer plantations at Lazenby have a poor diversity of plants and animal life and they have proved vulnerable to pests and diseases.

“Recent hot, dry summers have seen outbreaks of fire in these areas too, and this has added to the urgency of restoring and maximising the ecological integrity and resilience of this incredible woodland.”

The work to restore footpaths coincided with one of the wettest winters for many years with the Boosbeck-based trust having to wait until the ground had dried out before action could be taken. Mr Ashton added: “Quite a lot of the pathwork is now complete, but in the long term we will be doing more work to improve the area for people and wildlife."