Thursday, 22 January 2015

Every Branch Big With It

There's nothing, absolutely nothing, as fine as walking through woods like these after heavy snow. The title of Hardy's poem is Snow in the Suburbs but woods that have regained a sense of wildness are even better. Stillness was the key ingredient. Coming together: heavy snow, no wind, no frost, no thaw, and only animal footprints. All in careful balance and we have storyland scenes. A shaft or two of sunlight is the only thing that could possibly improve it. No man had a hand in this.

This woodland is at an altutude where we find little comparable woodland. It should therefore have special protection and be left to its own devices.

This is exactly the scene described by locals as 'Narnian' and until two years ago had a suitable wardrobe-like entrance, now opened out in the name of biodiversity - that word again and it conceals a multitude of sins - but once the tempting entrance to a secret world.

The marvellous other-world that we have here is another reason why we need woodland at higher altitudes. There's not enough of it. We're fairly well served for ancient woodland in lower parts of Sheffield but new woodland at higher levels is needed. Answer: less management.

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