VISITORS enjoying a Netherton beauty spot have been urged to follow social distancing rules following reports of people acting irresponsibly at the site.

Walkers have flocked to Saltwells Nature Reserve during lockdown for exercise, however wardens at the reserve have been flooded with reports of litter, fires, lack of social distancing and antisocial parking in recent days.

Members of the Save Saltwells Nature Reserve Facebook group have reported the clay pit being plagued with litter, while residents on nearby Saltwells Lane have reportedly been blocked on their drives by visitors parking along the road.

Dudley Council bosses said although the "vast majority" of people are behaving responsibly, there is a minority who do not follow the rules.

Councillor Karen Shakespeare, cabinet member responsible for parks and open spaces, said: “Thankfully the majority of people adhere to the important social distancing advice, which has allowed us to keep our parks and open spaces open for people to use. Sadly, there have been a few cases of people ignoring the rules – that puts themselves and everyone else at risk.

"It is vital people listen to the experts and keep at least two metres apart at all times when visiting any of our sites. There are signs up on site and there is information across our website and social media channels with the latest advice."

Staff at the site have responded quickly to reports of vandalism and are working with police to tackle the issue.

Councillor Shakespeare added: "We have also experienced a few incidents of vandalism, which is frustrating, but staff have been quick to respond and make repairs and working with police to try to tackle this issue. We really are in this together, and I would urge people to work with us, stay safe and stay alert to make sure we can keep these beautiful sites open for everyone to enjoy.”

Wardens have been working throughout lockdown to keep the reserve safe for visitors.