‘What is going on?’ - annoyed villagers near Bristol react to tourists using drones

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‘It is terrible because during lockdown it was great’

‘No drone areas’ have been brought in at a village less than an hour’s drive from Bristol - after locals complained their privacy was being invaded by the devices being sent into the air by visiting tourists.

People living in Castle Combe also say their community is being ruined by a rise in Airbnbs. The village is one of the most beautiful locations in the UK and has scenic walking routes and charming old streets.

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As a result, tourists flock to the popular location in their thousands. And according to residents, the number of people who live in the village full-time has fallen in recent years - with houses that go up for sale being snapped up and used as second homes or Airbnbs.

Georgina Kingshott, 44, a post-doctoral scientist, said that tourists invade her privacy by flying drones over her home and pitch up like it is a day at the seaside. A number of ‘no drones areas’ have been introduced in the village.

Georgina said: “In the hotter months people pitch up like it is the beach which can be a bit annoying. People will pitch up at one of the benches and be here all day, like it is the beach.

“It is terrible because during lockdown it was great. The other bad thing is that people will fly their drones across the village. It feels very intrusive. They are not supposed to do that and there are signs up and down.

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“You will wander into the garden and hear the sound of a drone and think ‘what is going on?’ There are coaches that come and do guided tours of the Cotswolds so we will have those pitch up a few times a day.

“It’s nice for us as we have the gate stopping people from coming in, but sometimes people will pretend not to see it and sit on this side of the fence which they are not meant to. I always feel a bit like ‘get off my land’. It can be intrusive with people running up and down.”

Castle Combe in Wiltshire attracts thousands of tourists each year - but that comes with problems, say localsCastle Combe in Wiltshire attracts thousands of tourists each year - but that comes with problems, say locals
Castle Combe in Wiltshire attracts thousands of tourists each year - but that comes with problems, say locals | SWNS

Anna Roberts, 60, has lived in the village for 20 years and runs a pop up tearoom. She welcomes the tourists as they boost trade but said over the years the community feel has gone from the village.

When she first moved here she said around 95 per cent of the village was filled with residents and now she claims it is around 50 per cent. One resident saying only 43 people actually live in the village.

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Anna said: “There has been a lot of changes in the village over the years. When we first moved here 20 years ago, I would say that the village was 95 per cent occupied by residents. As time has gone on, we are now under 50 per cent occupied by residents.

No drone areas have been introduced in the villageNo drone areas have been introduced in the village
No drone areas have been introduced in the village | SWNS

“This is because as houses go up for sale we are finding very few people who want to move in and live here. We have people who buy from abroad - they buy them as holiday homes, second homes and Airbnbs. That has been one of the saddest things as it has completely changed the community for those of us who still live here.

“At one time, we knew everyone who lived in every house. It was a very good community, a close community, and there was a real family feel. Now, unfortunately, those people who live here part-time or have it as a holiday home, they don’t really get involved in things.

“It has become very different. Having the business is what keeps us here. It is a beautiful village and it’s a lovely house but at the end of the day, it is a very tourist village. If I didn’t run a business from here we wouldn’t want to stay here.”

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