Warwickshire residents urged not to dump pumpkins in woods as it could endanger wildlife

The warning has come from the Woodlands Trust, which said it has seen a trend over the last few years of pumpkins being taken to woods for the wildlife

Residents in Warwickshire are being urged not to dump their old pumpkins in woodlands as it could endanger wildlife.

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The plea has come from the Woodland Trust, which has said that it has spotted a worrying trend in recent years for Halloween pumpkins to be taken to the nearest wood and left – in a well-meaning but misguided attempt to provide food for birds and woodland creatures.

The Woodland Trust is urging people to not dump their pumpkins in woods as it can endanger wildlife. Photo by Woodland Trust

Paul Bunton, engagement and communication officer at the Woodland Trust, said: “A myth seems to have built up that leaving pumpkins in woods helps wildlife.

"People think they’re doing a good thing by not binning them in landfill and instead leaving them for nature.

“But pumpkin flesh can be dangerous for hedgehogs, attracts colonies of rats and also has a really detrimental effect on woodland soils, plants and fungi.

"We can’t leave dumped pumpkins to rot so we end up with an orange mushy mess to deal with at many of our sites.”

The Woodland Trust is urging people to not dump their pumpkins in woods as it can endanger wildlife. Photo by Woodland Trust

The Woodland Trust says pumpkin leftovers can be used in a variety of ways – including making soup and also a pumpkin birdfeeder for the garden, which should be kept high off the ground well away from hedgehogs.

According to the Trust, which owns and cares for more than 1,000 free-to-visit woods across the UK, the pumpkin problem seems to be starting earlier and earlier, with supermarkets flooded with cheap pumpkins for sale and pumpkin-picking growing in popularity as a family activity in the run-up to Halloween.

Paul added: "Thousands of tonnes of pumpkin gets thrown away in the UK after Halloween each year, so it would be great if we could all put that to better use.

“Jack-o-lanterns can be good for wildlife in small quantities in gardens, but not woodland or other countryside.

"We are urging people everywhere to make soup, make a birdfeeder for your garden, but please don’t make a mess of the countryside.”

For more information about the Woodland Trust go to: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/