Wednesday, 14 February 2018


The transformation of a good natural woodland into a scene of desolation and waste is something that is being done by a wildlife trust. When we move along this inviting path we surely have a right to expect that it should continue in much the same magical way.

And for many years that is what it did, or at least until the fence was erected on the right, the famous four strand barbed wire horror. Still the left side remained as natural fringe woodland and it was some compensation.Now I know some of the local conservation workers don't like the word 'natural' and I understand why: it puts them seriously on the spot. They have persuaded themselves, influenced by a useful discourse, that 'nothing is natural any more'; i.e. human influence is so pervasive that it determines everything. They have then made a mental connection from that highly questionable belief to an inflexible mindset that discounts completely any understanding that land and nature, left to its own devices has any value. From there they go to 'all must be managed' and that management should be visible. Therefore all value is related to what is determined by 'man' in the guise of those chosen to 'manage' the land.It is only by adhering to this process that we can understand why they allow and make themselves responsible for the way they leave the land that was left to the people of Sheffield by a generous benefactor.

It is not simply SWT who are responsible for this; the culpability is shared with SCC in much the same way that Amey and SCC share blame for the street trees fiasco.

I can't believe that any educated person could argue that land with this provenance and history should look attractive and that this must be a priority for anyone charged with its management. Yet what do we get for the investment of subsidy and taxes, for all the BS put out by this peculiarly bizarre branch of the conservation industry and its charities. (We have known for many years that charities of many kinds have notv been well regulated.)

What we get is the crude and wrongheaded felling of native trees which were regenerating just where they had previously been cruelly suppressed by the shooting industry, the scattering of the debris from this persecution over a wide area, the unsightly piles of brushwood in fringe woodland that had been a delightful retreat; and we need to add to that the harm done by grazing animals turning vegetation into defecation, the astonishing treatment of the land they now call the 'sheep pasture' where trees are ruthlessly supressed lest the place might begin to look natural and attract a decent range of wildlife. All this and more is unfathomably in the name of wildlife!!

There are many people whose failure to raise questions and concerns about this shames Sheffield and its council and institutions. One can only assume that many people just do not see what is in front of their eyes.

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