For peace and thoughtfulness?
|When I wandered into this temple at Eskdalemuir, it was empty except for a monk sitting in the top chair. He was so still and silent that I thought he was a mannequin much to Paul's amusement.|
Small things please me today, Radio3 interspersing its music with birdsong, my cardigan which I have been knitting for ages is almost done, my son and his friend are coming down from Bath next weekend. There is one worrying factor on the horizon, but I keep my fingers crossed on that one. So I shall tackle the blog which I took off yesterday for fear of offending people ;) It is to do with Marion Shoard, long time environmentalist and her crusade on the 'free to roam' campaign. This is not a polemic against farmers, where would we be without them for goodness sake, but it is a slight diatribe about how the green signs for public right of ways are pulled down and the barbed wire goes up.
In fact, the British landowner's insistence on excluding the rest of us from his property seems to have more to do with a very British passion for possession than with practical realities. He seems to feel there is no point in owning land if you cannot exclude others from it. It is an attitude we can afford to countenance in our back gardens; but does it make sense to allow a single landowner to apply the same attitude to tens of thousands of acres when others want to visit them? Elsewhere in Europe, the British idea that an individual can own the environment as completely as he owns his 12-bore or his Range Rover is met with disbelief.
So what do we miss, it is the tracks and paths that went along the fields up by the farmhouses maybe, I can think of one at Bridge Farm for instance
Not just your upland moors, and designated areas, such as stately homes, 'pat the animal' farms, or adventure parks, but those fields round us, so invitingly beckoning, until you come up against the barbed wire. Scotland is much easier I believe, though you might have an angry gamekeeper breathing down your neck, if you interfere with the shooting of grouse, deer etc.
The Scottish Outdoor Access Code provides detailed guidance on the exercise of the ancient tradition of universal access to land in Scotland, which was formally codified under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. Under Scots law everyone has the right to be on most land and inland water for recreation, education and going from place to place providing they act responsibly. The basis of access rights in Scotland is one of shared responsibilities, in that those exercising such rights have to act responsibly, whilst landowners and managers have a reciprocal responsibility to respect the interests of those who exercise their rights. The code provides detailed guidance on these responsibilities.
And yes I know the arguments farmers use to keep us off the land, dogs not under control, spoiling of crops but we do have some guidelines to follow.
- Be safe - plan ahead and follow any signs
- Leave gates and property as you find them
- Protect plants and animals, and take your litter home
- Keep dogs under close control
- Consider other people
As farms enlarge their fields, we are almost talking prairie fields here, the ability to follow a chosen public path becomes a bit of an obstacle, and to be quite honest a rather worthless exercise in dullness so maybe walking in such places would be useless.
Anyway Marion Shoard has turned her thinking to getting old and written a couple of books on that, especially care homes. Now would you rather go into a care home or live in a commune of elderly residents I wonder? Her writing on the subject.
Edgelands How did I get here? by reading the Urban Historian
Listen to the gentle Yorkshire voice of Kate Rusby if you don't want to read ;)