THE new owner of Warleigh Weir on the River Avon has warned users that if they don’t take home their rubbish the site could be permanently closed to the public.

The warning follows incidents in scorching hot weather during the May Bank Holiday weekend, when scores of visitors left behind a two-feet high mound of rubbish.

Some angry users complained about the littering on social media sites, asking why some people were too lazy to take home their rubbish.

One of them, Clare Brown, said: “What part of Leave No Trace don’t you understand?

“This will not be collected by anyone other than volunteers who will need to take it over the railway tracks. A festering pile of crap that was too much effort to take home. Why?”

Within hours of Clare’s post, there were more than 40 comments and 50 shares, most of them agreeing with her criticism of the anti-social behaviour.

Warleigh Weir is located on privately-owned farmland near Claverton Pumping Station and the Kennet & Avon Canal.

The popular picnic and wild swimming spot can only be accessed by crossing the railway line between Bath and Freshford and the canal.

Users tend to park their vehicles in laybys and on verges along the A36 Warminster Road and in the narrow Ferry Lane.

For years, it has been a popular picnic and wild swimming location, attracting hundreds of visitors in hot and sunny weather.

Johnny Palmer, 35, an Australian businessman who lives and works in Bristol, acquired Warleigh Island and small piece of woodland this month from its previous owner.

He held a meeting with the local community at St Mary's Church in Claverton, to explain his plans for the site, as part of his Warleigh Weir conservation project.

Mr Palmer wants to progress a conservation project on the island and woodland by planting more trees and an orchard.

He says that in order for users to retain access, they must change their behaviour or the site will be closed off to public use.

Mr Palmer wants the local community to continue being able to access the site but says visitors must treat the land with respect.

He warned: “Warleigh Weir is private land. The public have no right to use the land. When on the land you are a guest and should treat the land and surrounding community with respect.

“The behaviour of a small minority of people is creating a very real risk of the site being closed for public use. In order to prevent this three things need to change immediately.

“Absolutely no rubbish should be left in the field, by the gate or on the lane. Anything you take to the site must be taken home. If you carried it to the weir you can carry it away. Any rubbish you find should be collected and taken away.

“Parking on the A36 or on Ferry Lane must stop. This creates a very high degree of danger for pedestrians and other road users.

“It also makes the lives of local residents very difficult. People must not park on the A36 or Ferry Lane. Instead site users should walk, cycle, canoe or take the bus.

“All site users are encouraged to remind people of the importance of taking away rubbish and not parking.

“Please remind people behaving badly that the site is private land and will shut for public access if the parking and rubbish issues do not stop immediately.”

Mr Palmer is encouraging visitors to take photographs of people they see who are not treating the site with respect. These can be emailed to