Barred vehicle access to a stretch of Ruamahanga River bank has failed to prevent the dumping of animal carcasses near a popular swimming spot at Gladstone.

Brian McWilliams, Carterton District Council community facilities manager, said the accessway had been barred to vehicles about two years ago after the sustained and illegal dumping at the site of animal carcasses -- pigs, cows, sheep -- and household rubbish and whiteware.

"We were getting a mountain of household rubbish and animal carcasses. Everything from dead sheep to dead refrigerators. So in conjunction with a nearby landowner, vehicle access was barred at a point beyond the landowner's gate."

A longtime visitor to the area, who declined to be named, said he was surprised to find a bank of soil blocking the accessway when he travelled past the Gladstone Reserve last week but when he walked down to the river to swim had come across the remains of two sheep.

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"It was just the heads and hides and the innards was thrown into the river. I understand why the way was blocked if that's what's been happening but now we're limited to just the single access. It used to be better because you could choose where you went."

Mr McWilliams said the Gladstone Reserve included an area designed for freedom campers that included picnic tables and fencing and the accessway to a swimming spot near the road bridge and the Gladstone Inn included a grassed parking area that was formerly a gravel storage yard.

He said the barrier on the accessway was for vehicles alone and further stretches of the riverbank were still able to be reached on foot.

"Everything is still all there and the barrier doesn't really affect anybody while it also prevents a lot of the illegal dumping we were seeing there."