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'Official' dogging sign at Gloucestershire beauty spot ripped down

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: May 05, 2010

fake-tourist-sign

A mock up of the sign

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​Thousands of tourists visit the Cotswolds every year for its genteel mix of quaint English villages and rolling hills.

But among the honey stoned cottages and green fields of the historic area known as the 'heart of England', visitors have been directed towards one of the areas more unpleasant sights - an 'official' dogging area.

Pointing in the direction of a view point spot known for its spectacular scenery, anyone following the official-looking sign could be exposed to a shockingly memorable view.

The term 'dogging' refers to the act of public sexual activity, often between complete strangers, in outdoor places and in public view.

And the Barrow Wake view point near Circencester has apparently become a popular spot.

Today a brown and white sign, designed to replicate official signs to places of public interest, had been torn down from the Cirencester bypass at Birdlip after its erection over the Bank Holiday weekend.

However it was not taken down before an eagle eyed BBC Radio Gloucestershire journalist - Faye Hatcher - spotted it and took a photograph of it.

David Parkinson, 53, who lives less than a mile from the 'Official Dogging Area' said Barrow Wake's reputation was a problem for local residents and that the sign had made the problem worse.

He said: 'It does tend to make the lives of local residents impossible.

'The viewpoint itself is one of the best in the area, fantastic views across Gloucestershire across the Malverns.

'You park there and you get accosted by people after 'stranger sex', I believe the terminology is. It's become a no-go area for residents.'

Mr Parkinson, a businessman, said he, his wife, and his daughter had all been followed by men when they were near the site, and that anyone arriving there to look at the view risked being accosted by strangers seeking sexual gratification.

Naked men were often seen in the area, day and night, with used condoms strewn across the area which is popular with walkers and tourists.

Police patrol the area, but cannot be there all the time, and Mr Parkinson said locals had been avoiding it for over six years.

An arrestable offence under public decency laws, Gloucestershire Police said they were aware of concerns around Barrow Wake and were addressing them with an ongoing operation.

Inspector, Phil Offord, said: 'One of the key elements of the operation is to encourage local residents to report any incidents in the area.

'Our priority is to ensure that the area remains safe and beautiful for all those that live, work and visit here.

'We would like to encourage people to talk to the local policing team about any concerns they have for the area and also to report any illegal or suspicious activity so that appropriate action can be taken.'

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  • Profile image for This is Gloucestershire
    Simon Henly, Eastington  |  May 07 2010, 6:18PM

    I like the way the A417/9 which runs all the way from Swindon to Gloucester is all of a sudden described as the "Cirencester bypass"

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    loopylis86, GLOS  |  May 07 2010, 11:59AM

    I just read Kay- gutted for the people affected by the closure. Workers especially.

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    Kay Powell, Tredworth  |  May 06 2010, 6:27PM

    loopylis86, the swingers' club in Southgate Street has gone bust, or so I heard earlier today.

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    Kay Powell, Tredworth  |  May 06 2010, 6:26PM

    loopylis86, the swingers club in Southgate Street has gone bust, or so I heard earlier today.

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    Kath, Chelt  |  May 06 2010, 4:43PM

    Haven't laughed so much for ages :) Well, a couple of days anyway.

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    EJ, Cheltenham  |  May 06 2010, 2:35PM

    Exactly Pat - it affects other people. Someone who thinks it is acceptable to behave as they do in public and not care about those they may upset is not normal. Forced marriage, FGM, etc. are irrelevant to the issue.

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    Pat Ranage, Glos  |  May 06 2010, 10:40AM

    loopylis86, GLOS I'm just going on the dictionary definition. Just 'cos someone agrees with it, doesn't make it normal, or the norm. I would guess that less than half the population engages in dogging, therfore making it abnormal. However, that said, I have no objection to abnormal behaviour, as long as it doesn't affect others, and this clearly does.

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    JoeMoo, Car_Park  |  May 06 2010, 9:38AM

    And it's on streetview. Google "barrow wake" Enjoy !

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    Joe Moo, Car-Park  |  May 06 2010, 9:29AM

    It's not "cottaging", It's "cruising". Cottaging is doing "IT" in toilets. And Barrow Wake is just one big Truckers_Toilet and Truckers_Tarts site at night.

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    Fat Sam¿, Abbeymead, Gloucestershire  |  May 05 2010, 10:31PM

    So-called local paper doesn't even realise that Barrow Wake is near Gloucester and not far from Cheltenham and nowhere near Ciren! It's also the Birdlip by-pass (which skirts Birdlip), not the Cirencester by-pass (which by-passes, er, Cirencester. And they say A level results are improving. I disagree. Those journalism courses are clearly lowering their standards. Anyway, anyone know if these sites are available as POIs for sat nav?

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