The use of professional dog walkers in Sydenham Hill Woods is an ongoing problem. There have been many complaints in the last two years despite the sign telling them not to. They park their vans in the scout building car park and up to four or five dogs are let out, not all of them on leads. Clearly the walkers themselves are unable, or more likely unwilling to attempt to clean up the mess they leave, and local residents walking in the woods (and particularly their children) suffer the consequences. Also not everyone likes dogs, and large dogs off a leash and running free can be very intimidating.
The Society has been pressuring the Estate for some time to do something about it but the practice continues despite the signs. It may be that the next step is to limit walkers in the woods to no more than two dogs - which unfortunately could have some impact on residents but, on the plus side, should mean no more professional dog walkers.
Surprisingly it seems that there are quite a few Dulwich residents who use dog walkers - I had always thought that one of the benefits of keeping a dog was the exercise it gave you in walking them. It does seem obvious, that if they use professional walkers, they should know where their dogs are taken and they should make sure it is not to Sydenham Hill woods.
Another subject that the Society has been discussing with the Estate, with some success, is fences. Those of you who drive up Dulwich Wood Park should have noticed a marked improvement in the condition of some of the fences that border that road, although there is still some way to go on others. We have also been asking the Estate to deal with small outbreaks of graffiti on the fences in Low Cross Wood Lane opposite Sydenham Hill Station.
Last but not least, the red post, installed on the corner of Herne Hill and Red Post Hill last year, has been vandalised. Two of the arms were broken off when someone swung on them but, luckily they were quickly retrieved, and will be re-fixed as soon as possible.