FENCING has been put in place at a picturesque canyon between Pontypool and Abertillery after a series of instances of antisocial behaviour over the summer.

Blaencuffin Canyon is a popular area with dog walkers and sightseers, and is often busy when the weather is good.

But the privately-owned land is now off-limits to visitors, and people trying to access the site may be prosecuted for trespassing.

In a joint statement, Blaenau Gwent Council, Torfaen Council and Caerphilly Council, along with Gwent Police, have reminded people the canyon is on privately-owned land and also presents a danger to those who visit.

“Blaencuffin Canyon is privately owned and, while the water may look beautiful, it may not be good for your health and open water can always be deadly,” read the statement.

“The area has other dangers too, including steep cliff edges, falling rocks and general filth left by previous visitors.

“The landowner has put fencing in place to prevent access and to protect the public and has now employed private security to patrol the area.”

Earlier in the summer, visitors to the site were criticised after litter was left strewn across the beauty spot and a number of deliberate fires were set on the site.

Dispersals orders were also issued on the site in May, after large groups from as far as Bristol and Somerset descended on the area.

And local volunteers who clear litter from the site warned that these incidents could lead to its closure.

People are now being asked to stop entering the fenced off area altogether.

Anyone caught on site will be considered to be trespassing and asked to leave immediately. They may also be subject to legal action by the landowner.

The councils’ statement continued: “The three neighbouring councils will continue to work with the landowner, police and partners in the area to reduce antisocial behaviour, damage to the environment and to keep the public safe.”

One of the volunteers, Jess Flag, said: “The whole place has been used as a dumping ground.

“We don’t want places to get closed off, but it got to the stage where this was like clearing up after your children 24 hours a day.

“If people had been more responsible, it might not have got to the stage where no-one can go there any more.

“It’s a real shame.”

Ms Flag added that if the scenes from across this summer had continued, it was likely someone would’ve been injured.

“It is private land. It was never meant to be a beauty spot,” she said.

“There is loose material on the side of the cliffs.

“At some point, someone was going to get hurt.”