'DON'T dump pumpkins' is the message being given out to well-meaning members of the public who may think leaving used pumpkins in forests or woodlands is a good thing. 

Pumpkins can make some animals unwell including hedgehogs which are already in decline.  Decomposing food waste can also attract pests and spread disease. 

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

Read more: New Forest rules broken by 700 people but no fines issued

Forestry England recommends using up Halloween pumpkins or recycling them at home.

Sam Pegler added: "Pumpkins 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.”

Pumpkins can be used as a temporary bird feeder in the garden but should be removed once the pumpkin starts to rot.