One of Derbyshire’s most popular beauty spots is being defaced by “senseless” graffiti.
The Forestry Commission and Derbyshire County Council have joined forces to tackle the problem at Black Rocks, near Cromford, after it worsened over the past few months.
Large areas of rock face have been defaced using multi-coloured paint sprays with the clean-up costs “likely to be high”.
Patrols by rangers from both organisations have been stepped up and plans are being considered to install surveillance cameras to identify those responsible.
The Forestry Commission owns Black Rocks as part of its Cromford Moor estate – an 80-hectare (200-acre) woodland popular with walkers. The outcrop of gritstone sculpted by the wind and rain over thousands of years is a massive draw for rocks climbers and a major local landmark.
Andrew Norman, ranger from the Forestry Commission, said: “In these difficult financial times we are all doing our best to maintain recreational facilities to a high standard.
“But senseless acts of vandalism like this end up diverting money we could be better spending somewhere else. The graffiti detracts from what is a beautiful place and popular with climbers, walkers and nature lovers.”
Councillor Simon Spencer, Deputy Leader for Derbyshire County Council, which helps manage the site, added: “Specialist cleaners will need to be brought in to remove the graffiti which is bad news for local tax-payers footing the bill. We appeal to those defacing the rocks to think twice.”