If you happen to be in Pembrokeshire, Wales and want to pay tribute to the late Dobby the Elf at his Freshwater West Beach grave, go ahead, but please don’t bring him any socks. The conservation charity National Trust Wales said as much after noting that socks and other trinkets Harry Potter fans were bringing to the site were putting the beach and its marine life at risk.
Freshwater West Beach became a landmark for Harry Potter fans after the fantasy franchise shot Dobby’s death scene there for 2010’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. In the film, the elf dies in Harry’s arms at the beach, which he describes in his final moments as “such a beautiful place to be with friends.” In the years since the movie’s release, fans have erected a memorial to the beloved character on the beach, bringing socks (which freed Dobby from his master Lucius Malfoy), painted rocks (which Potter used to honor the elf in the film), and other items.
After an eight-month review, however, National Trust Wales has asked fans to cease bringing physical tributes to the memorial. “The memorial to Dobby will remain at Freshwater West in the immediate term for people to enjoy,” the charity said in a statement. However, “The Trust is asking visitors to only take photos when visiting the memorial to help protect the wider landscape” because “items like socks, trinkets and paint chips from painted pebbles could enter the marine environment and food chain and put wildlife at risk.”
“While we’re delighted that so many want to visit, we have to balance the popularity of the site with impacts on the sensitive nature of the beach and wider environment, and pressure on the facilities and surrounding roads,” Jonathan Hughes, an official with National Trust Wales, said.
Harry Potter has taken a bit of a reputation blow in recent years thanks to its transphobic creator J.K. Rowling, but Daniel Radcliffe — who played the titular character in its films — has attempted to make good with fans by assuring them that “not everybody” in the franchise shares Rowling’s transphobic beliefs.