Litter prompts landowner to block Blue Lake beauty spot

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Media captionA digger has filled the access tunnel to the beauty spot

Access to a beauty spot has been blocked with 60 tonnes of slate by the landowner, who says he is fed up with visitors "trashing" it with litter.

Allan Titley has allowed people to visit Blue Lake, a former quarry near Fairbourne in Gwynedd, since the 1980s.

But in recent years its popularity as a place to swim has increased and so has the "dirty mess" which Mr Titley and locals have had to pick up, he says.

He used a digger to fill the access tunnel, saying "enough is enough".

Councillor Louise Hughes says in recent weeks about 40 bags of rubbish had been removed from the "astonishingly beautiful" site.

Image caption Councillor Louise Hughes said in recent weeks about 40 bags of rubbish had been removed from the site

The debris also included disposable barbecues, beer bottles and cans, a tent, human excrement and used condoms.

A video showing the digger at the quarry tunnel entrance has been viewed more than 80,000 times on Facebook page I Love Fairbourne with comments from people saying they remember visiting the site 50 years ago.

Destroying the land

Sheep farmer Mr Titley says in the last three years the mess left has worsened, with hundreds of visitors at the weekend in the summer, as more people revealed the "secret" site on social media.

"Thirty years ago they respected the place," he says. "It is a beautiful beauty spot and it has just been trashed.

"It's private land in the middle of my farm. They are destroying the land."

Image copyright Geograph | Jeremy Bolwell
Image caption Mr Titley says it took about eight hours to fill the tunnel entrance with about 60 tonnes of slate

Mr Titley bought the farm and surrounding land about 30 years ago, although the quarry shut and became a local haven years earlier.

Student Leigh Pocock, 20, who lives nearby, said he visited the site to see for himself that it had been closed off.

"It's quite gutting," he says, adding that he and others used it regularly as a place to swim and walk.

Image caption The access tunnel to the quarry has been blocked

"It was bound to happen. Tourists ruined it," Mr Pocock says.

'End of his tether'

Councillor Hughes said some visitors had "no regard for the environment".

"It's got steadily worse," she says. "Social media hasn't helped."

A spokesman for Wild Swim Snowdonia said it was "heartbroken" by the decision.

"We understand the farmer has reached the end of his tether and we don't blame him for that and respect his decision."

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