Climate Change….

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Wind Turbines, Derbyshire

Wind Turbines and the multi installation Wind Farms have been a bone of contention since they started to appear in the British Countryside and Coastal waters.  Love them or hate them I guess they are here to stay.  Do they despoil the countryside, well that is again a question of view point.  I think what has appalled some folk, myself included, is the mass concentration in restricted areas.  It reminds me of the mass Conifer forestations that were a planted between the wars.  Trees so close and dense nothing grows beneath, no light penetrates and they become mono cultures of Conifer. Thankfully time and science has shown there is a better way to re-forest the countryside.

Back to Wind Turbines…. well, spread well apart I am not sure that they spoil the countryside, just change the view.  With space between, birds, plants, farm animals and wildlife can go about there business without much danger.  As for the view above…well in centuries gone traditional Windmills were spread across this part of the world, one old stump, without its sails can be seen in the image. Nor is it any wonder that so many projects have been subject to Public Enquires when so many of these ‘farms’ were to be dumped upon vital wild habitat, reducing further our bio-diversity of large areas.

It is my view that so many folk hate windfarms is that our Government just forced them upon us. They relaxed planning restrictions and gave big grants for investors to construct the sites…Investors who by all accounts have walked away when returns were not as great as hyped, but after they got their grants!  Not part of a master plan but a fad.

The Windfarms in Coastal waters are stand alone features. Surely thought and development could have ensure that apart from wind generated electricity, wave power generation could have been incorporated into the location with the same infrastructure used for bringing the power ashore and its distribution. Maybe even the environmental impact could have been helped by creating under water reefs, providing habitat for sea creatures and young fish stocks

Climate Change is very real and life will change for all of us. Nor am I concerned that folk like you, me and our families will fail to respond to the challenges and changes ahead.

What does concern me is that Governments and most certainly the UK Government has so far failed to do any real ‘joined up’ thinking. Main infrastructure programs seem to just stumble from one fad to another. Fossil Fuel replacement hasn’t happened in a substantial way, Nuclear Plants are closing and major new ones that were announced with such hype are stalling. Farming, Housing and Industrial building require a strategic land use plan.  Potential water shortages and the opposite threat of major flooding with rising sea levels and coastal erosion all require a positive programme to address the issues. But these need a coordinated policy not disjointed actions going in different directions.

As for infrastructure, well we have the HS2 High Speed Rail Link.  Set to destroy hundreds of ancient woodlands, vital habitat, along its route. OK! they say they will plant several thousand new trees.  But how do you replace ancient woodland with a new tree? not possible.

New trees yes please, we need them to help the climate change balance but in addition to and not in replacement of.

Following the Climate Messages of this last week I get both annoyed and depressed that Government reaction is to suggest that we the public have to do our bit…so to help us, new restrictions and controls will be introduced. Yet so far I have yet to hear them define what actions they are going to take to secure our collective futures in this changing climate.

And that is my real fear.  It is not what you and I will be doing to make a difference … but what Governments are failing to do.

10th May

(C) David Oakes 2019

 

 

 

Winter Approaches…..

Misty

A November Dawn…

Autumn was a long time in arriving here in middle England. But once it had arrived its been rather terrific, but now we have the first signs of November…..  as its the 22nd of the month that cannot be to bad.

Earlier in the month I was trolling through some old books on the seasons and came across this little poem. It was obviously written some time ago before climate change started to push back the seasons, when November was rather sever.  No doubt it was once a familiar catalogue of occurrences but November this year has so far been very different

No Warmth, no Cheerfulness, no Healthy Ease

No Comfortable feel in the member,

No Shade, no Shine, no Butterflies, no Bees,

No Fruits, no Flowers, no Leaves, no Birds

NO-vember

Thomas Hood 

(1799 – 1845)

22nd November

(C) David Oakes 2018

 

 

 

The Weather is too good to waste….

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Calke Abbey and Estate Parkland, Derbyshire

Saturday started bright and sunny and far better than predicted…can this be true ‘spring has arrived’.  Well I suspect all will change over the next few days. So best not to waste this great patch of weather we headed off to one of our favourite places to stretch our legs. Calke Abbey is a very old estate house (now in the care of the National Trust) and whilst the house is well worth a visit it is the woodlands that we find of great and more lasting interest.

The woods are very different in character to the woodlands we normally visit. True there are areas on the estate that are densely wooded but the greater part is much more open.  Ancient Oaks and sedate Chestnuts and Beech doted across the park…an area once grazed by Deer and cattle…..Parkland fit for the owners of the estate to ride.

There are some Oak on the estate well over 1000 years old but most are just very venerable Oaks….some just hollowed out trunks, yet still able to withstand the high winds. Inevitably there is always some wind damage and maybe it is the fallen and decaying timbers that give the parkland a special magic feel…

In one corner of the Parkland you can also explore the Deer Shelter.  Not built with the Deer’s wellbeing in mind….but as a means of establishing a place where the wild deer could reliably find feed, so gathering groups of Deer in one place….the purpose being to allow the Deer to be viewed from the house. In need of some care and attention these old buildings still retain lots of character and have a quality of build to match the main house..

There is of course much more to Calke than just a noble house surrounded  by parkland and woods. In its hay days it was a fully self contained community supporting several farms, vegetable and ornamental gardens, stables, blacksmiths workshops, brew house, bakery and all other services necessary to support the house, its owners and employees.

One thing is always guaranteed and that is architects for these important houses could always manage to construct them in just the right location to show them at there very best…..and Calke Abbey is no exception.

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By the time this blog is posted the weather may well have changed….so I hope you have enjoyed a February day of warm  sunshine (12c) with us in Derbyshire.

5th February

(C) David Oakes 2017

Sunday….So off to Church

Shropshire

Holy Trinity the Parish Church of Much Wenlock

Much Wenlock is a small and very ancient Market Town in Shropshire. Like most towns across the UK  they once played a very important role in their regions, commerce, industry, agriculture, transport and in later days health and education.

But Much Wenlock can also make a very big claim to being the birth place of the modern Olympic.  The collaboration between Dr William Penny Brooks and Ross Frisby created the first Athletics Wenlock Olympics.  Those games celebrated their 130 gathering this year and we all know how the International Olympics have developed.

But back to Holy Trinity.  The church you see today is solid plain Norman in style and dates to 1150.  At some point the Tower also sported a Spire but that was removed early in the 20th century.  Like most English Churches it is again built upon a site of early Anglo Saxon worship.

Shropshire

The Nave is long and high, not over ornate but has high arched windows, stone pillars and Box Pews….simple and yet stylish.

Perhaps the simplicity is because the Church was built by an order of Cluniac Monks from Wenlock Abbey. Indeed you could say that Holy Trinity is literally and physically in the shadow of the Priory.

Wenlock Priory is perhaps the bigger attraction for visitors to the Town, but those who limit their visit just to the Priory miss out  on the Church and the Town and all its local history.

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Wenlock Priory

Again dates can be confused….as can names.  Originally the Priory was named after Saint Milburga.  It was originally a 7th century Monastery, then a Cluniac Monastery in 1079.  The current ruins of the Priory are just a little younger being 12th century. Priories were not just places of worship but fully contained communities.

Like all ruins it is fun deciphering the  layout, identifying where worship took place , where they slept, ate and of course where they prepared their food and stored the wines and beer…and of course where they washed and bathed.  These may now only be a skeleton of what existed but they still illustrate the skill of the stone mason with only the simplest of tools.

 Quite a contrast in both styles and size….plus the chance to explore a lovely market town that also has many more interesting buildings spanning the centuries and illustrating the Towns obvious importance to this part of Shropshire…yep, Much Wenlock is worth exploring.

( Off to Church on Sunday has been a regular blog for a few months now but I am going to give it a break till sometime the New Year. So next Sunday will be the last for awhile. I have something planned which I hope will be a fitting Off to Church contribution but more importantly appropriate blog for Remembrance Sunday)

6th November

(C) David Oakes 2016