A woman is campaigning for change after witnessing several explicit incidents at a notorious dogging hotspot.

Mary Lee-Slade, who lives in a rural area of the Ribble Valley, said she no longer feels safe while walking along a stretch of road near Back Lane, Sabden.

Now, she wants people to share what they have witnessed on the road and hopes to ‘reclaim’ Back Lane with the help of the police and council.

Lancashire Telegraph: Mary Lee-SladeMary Lee-Slade

The 37-year-old said she has seen six dogging incidents in the last year alone and was made to feel unsafe when approached by a man in a vehicle while walking.

She said: “About a year ago I started on a bit of a fitness regime and started walking at the bottom of the hill where Back Lane is.

“We knew it was classed as a ‘dogging hotspot’ but I didn’t realise quite how bad the problem was.”

Mary said she has witnessed several sexual acts related to dogging in the last year – all of which have been in broad daylight.

She said: “About a month ago, a man was pulled up at the side of the road receiving oral sex.

“It’s such a narrow road so I had no choice but to walk right past the window while he was having that done.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Back Lane, where dogging activities are said to take place (Photo: Mary Lee-Slade)Back Lane, where dogging activities are said to take place (Photo: Mary Lee-Slade)

Mary added that some incidents have escalated and she was left shaken after being approached by a man who pulled up next to her and asked where she was walking to.

She said: “Seeing a man having a sexual act in a car doesn’t scare me nearly as much as the man cruising next to me.

“A man cruised up next to me and wound his window down. He started talking about my leggings and I tried to ignored him.

“He circled back around and asked how far I was walking and how long I had been out for – it was really creepy.”

She added that incidents like this have made her feel “really unsafe and intimidated”.

She added: “One time I text my husband a registration number and said ‘if I am not back within the hour this is the registration that you need’.

“I also pick up a big stick to walk with.”

This week, Mary decided that enough is enough and started to campaign for changes to be made on Back Lane.

She explained: “It’s a beautiful place and lane – but it’s been taken over.

“People who want to use it now can’t use it.

 “I also don’t see why I should have to stop going to Back Lane – it’s not me that is doing anything wrong.”

She explained that while some people might find the concept of dogging “funny”, she wants people to take the matter more seriously.

She said: “People laugh at the idea of dogging but this goes further – it’s about people feeling unsafe.

“With everything that’s come out in the news recently surrounding Sarah Everard you don’t know what the next step will be for some people and those that cruise alongside you."

She’s been in touch with the local community and even set up a Facebook page called ‘Reclaim Back Lane’.

The aim of group is to share and report instances of intimidating and illicit behaviour so Mary can give it to police and council.

It was set up on Thursday and has more than 170 members and people sharing their own stories.

She added: “I want everyone to report suspicious behaviour up there and I would like signs putting up to deter the doggers.

“People have seen people having sex up against a tree, a man wearing a bra and knickers in broad daylight,” she explained.

“People have seen men coming out of bushes together- it’s been constant.”

One person in the group said: ”I am 17 years old and normally go there to meet up with my other motorbike friends or take pictures of the bikes. I have had situations of being stared at or men trying to chat me up.

“I have also had situations where older blokes in cars would drive really slowly past me and my friends which made us uncomfortable.”

Another commenter said a woman came to their car door “starkers” while they were near the lane.

Another wrote: “I have had two men jump out of the woods in front of me pulling their pants up.

“Another time on a lovely Sunday afternoon a man dressed as a woman jumped out of the back of a white van and ran to his car as another man also got out of the back of the van.

“I used to ride my horse along here as a teenager (nearly 30 years ago) and these issues were still occurring back then,” said another

Another group member added: “It’s a lovely spot that’s being littered with used condoms.”

Councillor Richard Newmark, borough councillor for the Sabden ward, said he will bring up the issue at a future parish council meeting and “see what can be done”.

He said: “This is very disturbing and upsetting. You don’t want your village to be associated with this.

“Obviously it’s very anti-social behaviour and in a public area that is used by a lot of dog walkers and cyclists.

“It’s a beautiful rural area with Pendle Hill on the other side of the valley – it’s really upsetting to hear this and hopefully the police will clamp down on it."

Lancashire Police said: “If anyone is concerned about activity like this then they should contact us on 101 or even 999 if they feel under any immediate threat.”


Social, newsletters, subscriptions and getting in touch...

You can follow the Lancashire Telegraph on social media, by joining us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

We also have dedicated Facebook groups on Crime & Court, Traffic & Travel, Nostalgia and our Lancashire Family page

If you want to make sure you don't miss the most important news stories every day, sign up to one of our free e-mail newsletters 

Gain unlimited access to the Lancashire Telegraph website with a premium digital subscription - we are running a £2 for two months special offer

Or if you want the Telegraph newspaper delivered to your door, get in touch with our home delivery team or call us on 0800 953 0227

Finally, have you got a story for us? If so, contact our newsdesk at lancsnews@nqnw.co.uk or by using our online contribution form