Sophie’s one-woman Woodland clean up

Sophie Wells has been clearing up Riccard Johnston Woodland, but says more needs to be done.
Sophie Wells has been clearing up Riccard Johnston Woodland, but says more needs to be done.

A woman carried out a lone campaign to stop woods in New Stevenston being turned into a dumping ground.

Part of what is known locally as the Coby, Riccard Johnston Woodland was opened in 2013 as one of a network of 14 Commonwealth Woods.

However, it has become a drinking den with empty cans and bottles littering the
area.

Sophie Wells uses the woods to walk her dogs and when one of them was injured by broken glass she decided to take action.

Over the last few weeks she has filled dozens of black bags with rubbish and even wrote to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon about the matter.

Sophie said: “The amount of litter was becoming a menace, as I found to my cost when my dog got injured.

“I have picked up dozens and dozens of cans and bottles, but after clearing an area I’d come back a few minutes later and another two cans would be lying there.

“I see men out there drinking sometimes, and we are not talking about kids. I feel quite sorry for them, but that doesn’t excuse their littering.

“I spoke to North Lanarkshire Council about at least getting some bins installed as there’s nowhere to put rubbish, and signage about the consequences of dropping litter, but nothing happened.

“I’m not saying the drinkers will use the bins, but at least giving them the option would be a start.

“This was supposed to be woodland for the use of the community, but the current situation is making it unusable to many and if it falls into neglect children won’t be able to appreciate the joys of the natural world.”

After the Times contacted the council it agreed to install bins.

A spokesman said: “Two bins will be installed within the next few weeks which we hope will help to keep the area clean for the many people who enjoy the woodland.”