Monday, July 28, 2008

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.


Blogger Katherine Tyrrell said...

Do you want a new neighbour?

Great news Julie - that's absolutely marvellous.

7/28/2008 11:55 PM  
Blogger Julie Oakley said...

Wouldn't it be lovely - I can point out what's for sale when you visit.

7/29/2008 8:21 AM  
Blogger Mike1727 said...

I'm surprised the trust have given themselves such a short timescale to raise money unless they already have some stashed.

I ride through this area on the way to/from work, it'll be quite a change to the landscape once it's all in but hopefully for the better. The land is greenbelt so houses/golf courses would be fairly unlikely.

And Mr Sourpuss- well, just walk the land ;+)

7/29/2008 12:14 PM  
Blogger Annie said...

Wonderful news, Julie. I had thought
that owners of Walking Paths could not deny public access in England, so I was surprised by Mr. Sourpuss-- but maybe these aren't old and established Walking Paths? I
am always bragging up England's respect for the land to people over here in The States where we have to fight so many Developers.

7/29/2008 1:40 PM  
Blogger Judith said...

Hullo Julie, I haven't visited for a while but just found my way to you from the Sandridge website page about the Woodland Trust project. It is very exciting, isn't it? I hope when the time comes they will let as many people as possible have the opportunity to plant a tree. I am not likely to be around to see it fully grown, so planting a tree will make me feel part of it.

8/10/2008 12:45 PM  

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