Monthly Archives: July 2014

Iona’s memorial mystery

The war memorial on the island of Iona on the west coast of Scotland stands by the eastern shore near the ferry.  At a passing glance it looks quite ordinary, but in fact it contains a surprise. There are two … Continue reading

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Heather on chalk, a rare thing

There is a place on top of the South Downs where, unusually, acid-loving heathland plants thrive on alkaline chalk.  It is Lullington Heath national nature reserve. I was up at 5am last month, when I was staying in Alfriston, north-west … Continue reading

Posted in Birds, National parks, Natural England, Natural history, South Downs | Tagged , | 4 Comments

A unique record

It was a nice coincidence that the Recording Britain exhibition was at Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery (on tour from the Victoria and Albert Museum) when I visited the town on 26 April for the Spirit of Kinder event. The 1932 Kinder trespass occurred … Continue reading

Posted in Art, National parks | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Good and bad path-practice in West Berks

Yesterday with my two friends, Drusilla and Mary, I ventured into West Berkshire, for a six-mile walk in the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  I saw examples of good and bad practice in path maintenance. We started at Snelsmore Common, … Continue reading

Posted in Access, AONB, Public paths, walking | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

A treacherous act

Seventy-five years ago today, 13 July 1939, the Access to Mountains Act 1939 received royal assent.  My predecessor at the Open Spaces Society, Sir Lawrence Chubb, had a big hand in this but it is nothing to be proud of. … Continue reading

Posted in Access, Open Spaces Society, parliament, Ramblers, walking | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Blencathra friends miss the point

It is sad that the Friends of Blencathra have failed in their bid to buy this magnificent mountain, also known as ‘Saddleback’ in the Lake District National Park, Cumbria.  This majestic place should belong to the community. However, all may … Continue reading

Posted in Access, common land, Cumbria, National parks, walking | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The shock of my life

‘You gotta do ’em over,’ said my dad, shaking his head sorrowfully.  That was 40 years ago today: 6 July 1974.  I can hear him now, with his soft American voice, uttering words which I was not expecting to hear. … Continue reading

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Blue-plaque blooper

On 22 June Chris Hall, editor of The Countryman magazine from 1981 to 1996, went to a ceremony for the unveiling of a blue plaque outside Greyhounds, Burford, in Oxfordshire, former home of the magazine.  Chris’s letter, below, was published … Continue reading

Posted in People | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Barossa nightjars

We met for the nightjar survey 15 minutes later, and a week earlier, than last year.  About 20 of us congregated at the end of King’s Ride, Camberley, Surrey, by the cattle-grid, eager to get out onto the heaths and record … Continue reading

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Leading us up the garden path

Yet again we find that this government has acted on prejudice not evidence. When the Growth and Infrastructure Bill was going through parliament, ministers claimed that the number of applications for village greens was increasing and that people were abusing the … Continue reading

Posted in Defra, green spaces, Growth and Infrastructure Act, Open Spaces Society, planning, town and village greens | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments