Visitors turning up at the ruins of a protected village are vandalising and stealing from the site in a move which has left onlookers “upset and mad”.
Derwent in Ladybower Reservoir, in Derbyshire, was submerged for almost 80 years until low levels of water in recent weeks revealed the site which includes churches, limestone cottages and historic buildings.
The surprise uncovering of the area, which was flooded in 1943, has draw in an “unprecedented” number of visitors curious for a peek at the site, the BBC reported. But many are doing more than looking, with some scratching their names into walls and stealing the stones as well as flinging the material into nearby mud.
Now park rangers at the abandoned village in the Peak District National Park have been forced to stop visitors from removing material from the site. And officials called on to the public to respect the “iconic archaeological” area.
One visitor said she was left “upset and mad” when she saw both children and parents taking “beautiful” stones from the walls.
Clare Whittaker from Sheffield, told the BBC: “My Sunday visit to Ladybower left me very upset. We’re very lucky to get to see some good history but people were deliberately destroying that history.”
“There’s a fair amount of graffiti and defacement on the ruins,” said Edale Mountain Rescue Team leader Steve Rowe. “It’s a huge part of our history and now ‘Cheryl’ and ‘Steve’ have scratched their names in the rock.
“We need to look after it, we have a responsibility like you would at any historical site.”
The park authority’s cultural heritage manager also issued an appeal to the public to be vigilant.
“Whilst we understand that people are fascinated by the appearance of these usually hidden ruins, the structures remain an iconic archaeological feature of the Peak District National Park,” said Anna Badcock.
“As we wouldn’t expect people to vandalise any of the National Park’s many heritage buildings or other archaeological features, the remains of the homes and other submerged buildings are no exception.
“We urge people to leave these features intact to open a valuable window onto history, not just today, but for future generations to enjoy.”
Derwent was cleared out of its inhabitants and flooded in the 1940s to make way for Ladybower Reservoir, which was built between 1935 and 1943.