Saturday, 4 March 2017


SWT tries hard to advertise itself in local community publications in an effort to get people to love them. A pity they don’t work harder on the ground to protect natural beauty and in responding to the wishes of local people. They constantly refer to Blacka as a nature reserve or ‘the reserve’ as a calculated policy on the principle that say something often enough and a number of people will start to believe you. The latest of their articles in the Bradway Bugle tells us what a grand job they are doing on Blacka Moor. 

 Needless to say it paints a glowing picture that regular visitors might see differently.

One sentence that leaps out is this:

Who, we might think, could argue with the restoration of a historic feature? But it’s not a historic feature. The point of the new wall is to secure the land inside so that sheep can’t jump over it.

And unlike the wall that existed close by a hundred or so years ago it is made a lot higher and even extended beyond that with barbed wire topping and supports because present day farmers demand as much as they can get from public funding. In no sense is this ‘historic’, so it's not restoration.  And the sheep grazing that continues is recognised as an exploitative practice that damages natural vegetation that would otherwise thrive, and keeps the land in an impoverished condition.

The only way this could qualify as historic is if someone proved that the site was used as a prisoner of war camp in the last war: in which case they need to put in some sentry towers. In my view they would not be out of place. Incidentally there are still coils of wire inside the enclosure left behind by the installers that have been there for months.

True restoration that would be genuinely valuable would put a high premium on natural succession whereby human management stepped back to allow a return to a landscape that is more a product of natural forces rather than the needs and demands of people and managers. Artificial boundaries play no part in that, especially those that cost huge quantities of public money while claiming to be a restoration. We really would hope that a wildlife trust would see that.

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