The level of litter and fly-tipping in woodlands during lockdown is harming the countryside and putting nature at risk, a charity has warned.
The Woodland Trust’s 1,000 UK sites stayed open throughout the pandemic.
Norman Starks, a director at the charity, said while it is “great that people are getting outside… we have seen a huge increase in mess”.
Areas of Kent, North Yorkshire, Gloucestershire and Bolton have seen some of the worst examples.
According to the trust plastics and metals, which do not decompose, can change the soil composition.
Animals can suffocate in, or be trapped by, discarded plastic or injured by broken glass.
At Dering Wood, near Pluckley in Kent, people have chopped down and damaged trees, set up camps and dropped litter and drug waste, as well as digging fire pits.
At Ashenbank in Gravesend, people have been removing the protected great crested newts to take back to their ponds at home, the trust said.
Skipton Castle Woods in North Yorkshire, Barber Wood, near Cheltenham and Smithills, near Bolton have seen similar anti-social behaviour.
The cost of clearing up the damage for the year is projected to be about £134,000.
Mr Starks added: “These are very delicate habitats; in some cases they are hundreds of years old. We need the public to join us in helping to continue to protect these environments.”