Oh my gosh I am so excited!
Not long after I finished my One Mile from Home challenge I was very despondent when the new landowner (hereafter known as Mr Sourpuss) decided to block off one of my favourite walks – the big loop around the fields past the bluebell wood (shown in red above). I didn’t want to bore you all with how depressed I felt, but it just seemed so curmudgeonly and mean spirited that the very people who loved his land and would have taken care of it were to be prevented from enjoying it. Every time I bumped into my fellow walkers we dejectedly chatted about the loss of our lovely walk. Not only that but the rumour mill had it that in three years’ time he was going to prevent us from walking in our beloved bluebell wood (Langley Wood in the map above). It’s behaviour like this that turns nice middle-aged ladies like me into law-breaking hooligans. Last night as Robin and I took one of our ever more frequent trespassing walks at dusk we once again bemoaned the fact that we had to enjoy our walk under cover of darkness – and with no opportunity for me to sketch. With the thought of losing the bluebell wood as well, we might seriously have to consider moving somewhere else where we would be able to walk without Mr Sourpuss stopping us.
Anyway this morning, as I was lying in bed there was something on the radio about the Woodland Trust creating the largest new native forest in England. 850 acres may not sound much to you Australians or Americans, but here in England with so much of our native woodland depleted, I can assure you it’s significant. I didn’t think too much about it until my Dad rang this evening and mentioned that it was going to be near St Albans, so as we were talking I had a quick look on the web and discovered to my delight that Mr Sourpuss is obviously prepared to sell his land because the proposed forest is going to be Sandridge forest encompassing just about everywhere you can see on the map above and much, much more.
I am just so delighted. The Woodland Trust need to raise £8.5million by the end of September, so a lot of fund-raising needs to be done if it’s going to happen. It means that many of the views that you can see in ‘One Mile from Home’ will be transformed forever, but not, I think, in a bad way – it won’t be housing or industrial estates or golf courses. It will be protected as a place for native wildlife to flourish and for walkers to enjoy forever.
For any of you local people who are interested there is going to be a public meeting at Sandridge Village Hall at 8 o’ clock in the evening on Tuesday 5th of August. If any of you have some money available to help the Woodland Trust create the largest new native forest in England (and take over the land from Mr Sourpuss) please go to their appeal page on their website and donate – time is short.