Tuesday, 22 February 2011

ABC Wednesday - Forests

Today I am celebrating forests for two reasons. One, obviously, because it is ABC Wednesday but the other is that the government have done a U turn and backed off from selling off the  forests in public ownership.  The 'consultation' of selling the forest was announced quietly but a growing vocal opposition to the plan, pointed out the financial figures did not add up and the government would probably end up making nothing.  Forestry consultants also thought it was a woolly plan and were suspicious of the motives. Prices of timber are at a high, perhaps the government had interested parties who thought they could make a killing.  With the present economic cuts yet to bite and also cross party opposition Prime Minister Cameron must have decided this may be one future fight too many and announced the scrapping of the idea.

But of course opposition to the plan was not really about money, it was about access.  The area I live is full of woods and if it had not been grey and raining for a week I would have gone out and taken some photographs, but as I am a wimp I'm using photos from my archive, so the seasons following will change in a random manner
A field of sheep munching contently by the small hamlet surrounded by a mixed wood forest. Some well worn paths take routes through the forest, others in the growing season may
not be as easy to find. The map person is not too keen on forests when paths disappear in undergrowth and all direction is lost.  The ones in the background are not heavily used but other areas such as
around Yew Tree Tarn are one of the areas favoured by walkers being in the Lake District proper. In places like Grizedale Forest it has wonderful paths for mountain bikers and is famous for its pieces of art scattered around the forest which one can come on unexpectedly
Photo courtesy of Anne Bowker
This would have been one of the forests under threat as it is owned by the Forestry Commission. The main Cumbrian "Save Our Forests" demonstration was held here.  I would guess it is the most used forest in the county, while still also  a working forest.  I am not uncritical of the Forestry Commission for in the past they have tended to plant nothing but rows of firs
but in recent more enlightened times there are a mix of firs and deciduous trees.  Which are better for the forest plants and birds
It would be wrong to condemn all privately owned forests, some are well managed but perfectly accessible
to walkers and cyclists like the ones owned by the Holker estate.  At bluebell time this metalled track leads to a gate into the wood where it will be a perfumed blue heaven.  But when a piece of forest was sold recently

on the east side of Coniston Water the new owner installed a gate, lock and chain.  The stile access is still available into the mixed forest of sessile oaks, beech and birch but you have to get to the stile first. This side of the lake is used by people just wanting to sit by the side of the lake, mess about in boat, or walk and cycle in the forest.  The east side of the lake has a narrow road
mostly one car width, (stop tuck in and pass), so limited parking on the road (no public transport).  There a small rough car parks of various sizes every couple of miles, the one that has been closed off is one of the larger ones holding about 18 cars (with or without boats).  Hopefully the public mood will mean that no further pieces of forest will be sold off (in this case for what seemed a rather low price) and they will be managed for future generations to enjoy.

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13 comments:

EG Wow said...

Thank goodness the government there has backed off! I live close to several public-owned forests and I would be furious if they were to be sold!

Roger Owen Green said...

beautiful vistas

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Sylvia K said...

Beautiful vistas indeed and superb captures and, YES!, thank goodness the government there has backed off! I too would be furious to lose the public owned forests that we have. Great post for the F Day, Joy! Enjoy the rest of your week!

Sylvia
ABC Team

Leslie: said...

I am so glad the government backed off and you will be able to continue to take advantage of all the beautiful forested areas around your home. I just love the British countryside and would love to be able to wander freely along the many pathways you have.

Leslie
ABCW Team

photowannabe said...

You live in such a beautiful area. I'm so glad that the property will remain open to be enjoyed.

Jingle said...

good news.
Cheers.
Thanks for sharing such lovely view.

Greyscale Territory said...

Such a wonderful region to wander and enjoy Nature! Thank goodness some respect for the wonders of untouched Nature was upheld!

helenmac said...

Thank you for a wonderful essay on your forests and how they are being saved from lumbering -- beautiful photos, no matter when you took them.
HelenMac, ABC Wednesday Team

Wick Daily Photo said...

Strange U-turn since there seemed to be a pledge to ensure that access would be preserved. Probably more a case of potential purchasers becoming less keen. Up here in the Floe country the effects of forestry is well documented.

Tumblewords: said...

Oh, I'm so happy that these forests were saved. We've lost far too many, I think.

LisaF said...

You live in a beautiful part of the world. I enjoyed every one of your photos. Forests are magical places and I hope they never disappear.

NanU said...

Fabulous tour of your Forests! Thank you.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I am glad the forests remain in the public domain~