Friday, 22 May 2015

Back on the west coast

The Safari had a trip over to Holy Island yesterday. We checked at the tide tables and they said they there was plenty for us to cross. The causeway is covered by several feet of water at high tide and you really don't want to get caught out - time and tide and all that. So over we went and ended up at the already quite full enormous car-park. 
The posts in the middle distance show the walking route across the flats and it's not often you drive along a road with seaweed strewn all over it!
The Castle is only 400 years old and much modified in the early 20th C
The car-park was so big that Frank would never be able to get out of it so we turned and went back to another smaller car-park on the nature area away from the hullabaloo. It was cold and windy but there was a Little Egret (the only one of the hols). The top of the dunes gave a view of the not so ancient castle.
Heading back to the mainland
The Priory that remains today is Norman in origin being founded 300 years after the Viking raid on the original priory but not in the same place, the Parish Church stands on that site. 
That raid was the very beginnings of our ancestry as our hand problem is a genetic condition linked quite closely to the Vikings; although there is now some evidence that Vikings had at least visited and possibly settled parts of Britain a few years earlier and the raid had prior knowledge of what they would likely find by way of defenders and treasure. Despite our genetic make-up we don't condone chopping up defenceless monks with axes
Our journey back to Base Camp took us past the extensive planting on the hillside again and we got to thinking wouldn't it be great to have a National Forest - no not like Sherwood Forest or the New Forest but a real continuous wild-space covered in regionally native trees (where appropriate ie not on flower-rich grasslands or wet peat) from Land's End to John O Groats and Holyhead to Lowestoft for starters. It would ideally be no less than a mile wide at any one point and there would be no gaps of more than a mile every 50 miles. The forest would be an invaluable wildlife corridor, for recreation - the good of our souls and offer employment opportunities like coppicing, bodging and other woodland products/crafts. It could be started by linking all the existing patches of woodland and shelter belts.
Something like this for starters - sure the farmers and other land owners will head over heels with the idea!
That swathe is well less than the 'obligatory' mile
Who's going to pay for it? Us the tax-payer - we already give those farmers and land owners loads of our taxes as it is. If there's a benefit cap of £26,000 for 'normal' people then the Single Farm Payment should be capped at that too and the rest used for public benefit. Wouldn't it be great to see some extensive upland reforestation! Don't all start screaming (or dreaming) at once; can see it happening - we need to re-wild ourselves before we think about re-wilding the landscape and what should be living in it.
Where to next? We might get an hour out somewhere tomorrow.
In the meantime let us know who's planting all the trees in your outback

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