‘Soul destroying’ damage done to the Downs after large gathering of drivers meet at night

It’s the third known time this has happened on the Downs

“Soul destroying” damage was done to the Bristol Downs after a large gathering of drivers met at night and drove across the grass.

The car meet was held on June 12 which saw drivers showing off souped-up cars and drifting on the grass – the third known time this happened on the Downs.

The morning after, dog walkers, local residents and park wardens said the grass had been severely damaged. BCCMUK, understood to be the organisers of the car meet, appear to arrange similar events across the region regularly, with the locations not given until just before the events take place.

Videos on social media posted after June 12, mentioning BCCMUK, show cars driven across the Downs, with spectators looking on.

Speaking at a Downs committee on June 28, Ben Skuse, area parks supervisor, said: “It’s soul destroying, when we’ve done quite a lot of work to put the ground right again afterwards, and it just happens again.

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“Not to mention the obvious dangerous aspect of tearing around in low light conditions, such that they’ve crashed into a picnic bench.

“You don’t have to imagine too much more happening to see people coming to serious harm. On a couple of these occasions, the police have been in attendance.

“The first occasion there were countless [drivers], maybe up to 100.

“The last two that have happened, it’s difficult to know. I would say it’s an environmental crime.

“The area of grass that they’re currently doing it on is an iron-age field system.

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“The damage being caused to the ground is more than, for example, from our traveller friends. Much, much more.”

It’s thought that at least three car meets have taken place on the Downs, with the first happening in summer 2020 during lockdown when hundreds attended.

A car drifting across the Downs. Pic: evssv.

The day after the most recent car meet, local residents voiced their anger on social media. One resident said: “So disappointed to see the grass totally shredded and litter everywhere this morning, plus at least one totally destroyed picnic bench.

“ As a local resident, I could hear cars tearing around last night for a couple of hours, and did try to get hold of the police to report it, but without luck.

“Such a shame. As a dog walker, I’m here at least once a day most days and it’s sad to see a minority ruining this special place for the majority.”

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Another commenter said: “After having lovely sounds of cars racing up and down Clifton Downs late last night for a prolonged time, I was disappointed to see the Downs in such a sad state this afternoon.

“There are multiple big muddy circles with tire marks everywhere, even a smashed up bench.”

Avon and Somerset Police and BCCMUK were approached for comment.