AFTER the Halloween celebrations, Forestry England is reminding members of the public not to leave spent pumpkins in forests or woodlands.

Each year, well-meaning social media posts circulate that encourage people to leave pumpkins in the woods for wildlife to eat. 

But pumpkins are not natural to woodlands and can make some animals very poorly, such as our declining population of hedgehogs. 

Decomposing food waste can also attract pests and spread disease.

Instead, Forestry England recommends getting creative in the kitchen to use up Hallowe’en pumpkins or recycling them at home.

Forestry England ecologist, Sam Pegler, said: “While it’s wonderful that people want to do their bit for nature, leaving rotting pumpkins in the countryside isn’t good for wildlife. 

“Some animal centres may accept a small number of pumpkins for their residents, but these are carefully given to appropriate species and removed before they rot down. 

“This isn’t possible in a forest setting, so is best avoided completely.

“My favourite way to use pumpkin is to explore the countless free and tasty recipes online. 

“It isn’t all about soup, pumpkin is brilliant for stews, curries, pies, and even pasta and risotto dishes. 

“If pumpkin really isn’t your thing, it can be disposed of in your food recycling container or composted at home. 

“The high water content of pumpkin makes it a great composting material to add nitrogen and moisture to your compost bin.”