Marines say thanks by commons clean-up

PUBLISHED: 16:04 14 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:37 10 June 2010

MANY hands made light work of cleaning up Woodbury Common when the Royal Marines, based at Lympstone, rolled up their sleeves and collected piles of litter.

MANY hands made light work of cleaning up Woodbury Common when the Royal Marines, based at Lympstone, rolled up their sleeves and collected piles of litter.

The Marines' clean-up campaign was the troops' way of saying 'thank you' to Clinton Devon Estates for allowing the recruits to use the acres of common land for training.

The recruits, who use part of the common for exercises, were helping the team who weekly spend time clearing the area.

Devon Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust warden Bungy Williams said the Marines' rubbish was 'negligible' compared to the litter and mess left by the general public and local dog walkers.

He said the common was constantly under threat from fly tippers who were too lazy to dispose of their waste responsibly.

Mr Williams said the Marines' litter-pick showed the recruits were committed to the area and common

Mr Williams said: "The clean-up is an excellent idea. They have used the common for years and we would always expect them to clear up the rubbish after each exercise.

"It's good to see the responsible attitude the Marines take to their use of the area. "Although the troops clear their exercise area after they leave, this clear-up ensures that some of the missed litter is also picked up.

"If you look in some of the rubbish bags you might think the Marines survived on a fast food diet, but of course most of the litter they picked up was dropped by other users of the commons.

"There are lots of benefits of having the Royal Marines training on the commons.

"I also want to thank an unknown member of the public for picking up a pile of beer bottles at the Four Firs Cross car park.

"I had directed the Marines to it, but a local walker had got there first. So thank you to everyone for a first class team effort."

The Royal Marines have been training on the commons for more than 60 years.

Clinton Devon Estates (CDE) said they are seen as a useful deterrent against environmental vandalism, such as arson and dumping of waste.

The regular trampling by troops also does a similar job to grazing cattle creating wetlands favoured by the rare damsel fly, CDE said.

Royal Marine spokesman Warrant Officer Dave Fradley said the aim of the clean-up campaign was to reduce the impact and footprint on the common left by the Marines, Army and Cadets who regularly use the land for training.

He said picking up their own - and civilian litter - showed they were responsible users of the common and proved their commitment of protecting the land for the wider community.

He said: "We do it on a regular basis. We realise we are not the sole users of the common.

"The common is an important training tool. We try to minimise our impact on the common as much as possible and we try to be responsible users of the land.

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