A professionally trained security team are the latest initiative in helping restore an air of peace and tranquility to a favourite Saddleworth beauty spot.

The Dovestone Marshals were on duty at the much-vaulted reservoir at Greenfield which, over recent weekends, has been besieged by motorists and visitors.

Blazes started by arsonists were initially tackled by 80 firefighters on hills above the reservoir but in their wake, with the return of good weather over May’s first bank holiday, there was a massive upsurge of tourists.

Worried community champions and locals demanded more “boots in the ground” in a series of communications to the RSPB, United Utilities, the Peak District National Park and Oldham Council involved in the countryside facility.

Saddleworth’s neighbour policing team moved in to control traffic issues which had lead to distraught families being marooned in their homes at Forty Row, in the loom of the reservoir.

And, backed by Greenfield and Grasscroft Residents Association (GGRA), the householders formed an action group to air their problems.

The new marshals patrol the main entrance and supervise a gate leading to Dovestone Sailing Club which carries a sign warning the club is on a private road for members and badge holders only, with a £75 clamping fee (picture).

Dr Andrew Taylor, chair of GGRA, says they have concerns about the valley’s future but are pressing for short term plans seeking external funding, volunteers, watch rotas and working in coalition with partners.

“There have been new highs of misbehaviour and new lows of site management effectiveness in the area,” he claimed.

“Private vehicles caused gridlock, illegal parking, obstruction to residents and emergency services and widespread and general disregard for rules of politeness and care for the countryside.

“ Illegal barbecues have been taken to the area; antisocial behaviour, obstruction and verbal and physical abuse have been witnessed alongside trespass and site damage.

“The partner organisations have been doing their very best but they are overwhelmed, they are not always on site, they are subject to abuse — and they need support.

“Their management feel unable to react quickly leaving staff on the ground to deal with it.

“There were outstanding efforts by police, small modifications and increased staff attendance but there is a lot more to do.

“There is a great need for a common forum with a common plan of action.

“We need a meeting with all the partner organisations at the highest level to raise awareness and to seek funding from sources which may be unavailable to the statutory organisations in order to enact plans which might ameliorate the situation.”

And he warned: “The situation must not be seen as a short term aberration. It is much more a sign of the way things may go, or even become worse.

“We need long-term planning for the use of the area with the benefits of the countryside in a manageable and sustainable way.

“Sadly the valley could create a marvellous tourist area with varied facilities, ample parking, good clear entry and exit roads - all in a manned and environmentally compatible way - but apparently not the will or the wit to see it take shape.”

Dave O'Hara, RSPB Site Manager said, "RSPB and UU have been working with OMBC and police to improve traffic and visitor management particularly in hot weather.

“A trial of marshalling with contracted marshals, led by the police, is planned for the Bank Holiday weekend.”