A number of much-loved festive food cabins have been axed at a Midlands beauty spot after they were being labelled as a ‘Christmas Market’.
Forestry England has scrapped its seasonal catering partner activity after hoards of punters descended on Cannock Chase to get their ‘Christmas fix’ over the weekend (December 5 and 6).
A spokesman for the organisation said the high visitor numbers made the event too hard to run and, sadly, have had to stop the catering huts from continuing.
Christmas tree sales will continue.
They added: “During 2020, Cannock Chase Forest has seen record numbers visiting as people make the most of the open spaces and the wellbeing benefits of being amongst trees and nature during the pandemic.
“Our team is working hard in extremely challenging circumstances to manage things at Cannock Chase Forest to help take care of visitors during these busy times. This weekend we had over three times more staff trying to manage the car park and additional car parking spaces available.
“However, the scenes over the weekend were still unacceptable to both us and many of our visitors, so we have taken the difficult decision to stop our seasonal catering partner activity.
“These festive food cabins have been with us each Christmas for many years, but this year had been incorrectly labelled by some people as a Christmas Market. This added to the already high visitor numbers, as people desperate to get a Christmas fix headed to Cannock Chase Forest.
“We remind everyone to please keep themselves, local residents and our staff safe by following the government’s tier system guidance and social distancing when you visit.”
The forest, car park and essential facilities – including the café for takeaways – will remain open for outdoor recreation and exercise.
And the Christmas tree sales will continue until Sunday, December 20, and will have a separate car park available.
A number of people – who were at the event – agreed with organisers about cancelling the event.
One wrote: “This is unfortunate but after witnessing the scenes both Saturday and Sunday with parking on the main roads and across junctions, people using the road as a walkway with pushchairs and dogs I think the right decision was made. It was extremely dangerous.”
While another penned: “Such a shame they are stopping the food huts. I’ve been up there today and they have every single measure in place. All ropes are up, sanitiser available, signage all in place!!
“So because of stupid deluded idiots who can’t keep distant from other people these people have gotta lose their trade on their busiest time of year!!”