It was just at the very end of the walk that the sun appeared to cheer us up.
No knowing if it remained in position - the rest of Sheffield was under the gloom for the rest of the day.
And we have ivy, holly and running deer on Blacka. Let us hope and pray that the ignorant chain saw menaces of SWT will leave the holly alone and do nothing to discourage the deer. Walking around Blacka at this time of year reminds you of just how important these evergreen plants must have been to shore up spirits amid the general bleakness in the days when people lived a much more outdoor sort of life.The holly and the ivy,When they are both full grownOf all the trees that are in the woodThe holly bears the crownO the rising of the sunAnd the running of the deerThe playing of the merry organSweet singing of the choir
But even more suitable for a Christmas Tree is this fir visible from the track going down to Shorts Lane. It only becomes noticeable in the winter as foliage of neighbouring deciduous trees conceal it from view.
Commuter traffic was provided by the waves of rooks and jackdaws constantly passing over, striking out for the fields in valleys to the west.
The barriers drew some uncomplimentary comments. After a month or two an SWT worker came along with a saw and reduced the height of the uprights which certainly lessened the clumsy visual impact in an attractive area. At a RAG meeting on site in June SWT remarked that they would address the visual intrusiveness of the barriers by replacing them with 'hurdles'.
Eventually one barrier was removed and a broad hurdle like structure appeared to replace it. This frankly defies description, but one should say that at each end there was a kind of extension, as if by afterthought, using two of the bars of the previous barrier. The pictures I hope tell something if not all of the story:
Two things puzzled me. One was the small number of volunteers. Of course it 's possible that dozens arrived later in the day but somehow unlikely. Secondly if the priority is keeping the areas of heather free from birch why were they nor removing the numerous twiggy growths visible in the heather instead of working inside woodland which had already established itself? It could be that the lower twigs were being removed to make it easier for SWT's trained chain-saw operators to cut down these trees in the coming week. But the whole thing seems somehow to suggest going through the motions of an unrealistic task.
If they are intending to cut more of this stretch of woodland I shall be very annoyed: these woods are a particular valued area where the deer retire during the day. But then when did SWT really care for the interests of wildlife?
The small birch woodland at the base of the western end of Bole Hill (picture below) is a regular and secure haunt of Blacka's red deer and should be avoided at all costs by those wielding chain-saws and other tools of destruction. In fact they should stay away completely