Thursday, 28 January 2010

Armageddon in a Welsh valley . . .

Death and destruction for the plants alongside what used to be a pathway through the woods on Next Door's farm. A few years ago he widened it into a four-berth cow highway. Then before Christmas he cut dunnamany trees down, mostly sickly ash and sycamore, but some decent specimens too. It all went for firewood. Now the big yellow JCB lumbers up and down, and having dragged out the stumps it is now digging away at the hillside and broadening the trackway so half the 250-cow milking herd will be able to walk abreast along it. The yellow boulder clay forms a base for the slate and shale bedrock which is dragged out next, although with that number of cows traipsing back and forwards twice a day in each direction when they're pastured over that side of the lane, the shale soon turns into mud.

The top of the track, as it was.

Blackthorn flowering.

Celendines (in our paddock, rather than along the trackway, although they were prolific there.)

Cow Parsley.

Yellow Archangel.

Red Campion.

I hate to hear the bellowing and shrieking of this citric yellow monster destroying the countryside - a trackway I know well from dog walking, horse riding, blackberrying. The flowers of this wilderness are now gone, mangled beneath tons of earth and shale. I shouldn't think the badgers are impressed either. The Elder trees which lined one side of it are ripped out and buried beneath the wider track. It will be years before the soil re-establishes itself from leaf-fall and the colonies of wild flowers make a proper comeback. No Foxgloves there this year. No Blackberries. No Celendines. No Red Campion. No carpet of Bluebells or embellishments of yellow Primroses deep into spring. No creamy mopheads of Elderflowers in May and June and no Elderberries come autumn. No Flowering Wood Rush, or Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage, and no Dog roses, for the beautiful arches on the bend which have been there as long as we have lived here, are now ripped out. Progress is it?


  1. Desecration!Loved the wild flower pics - a last farewell...

  2. Grrrr.

    Things are hardy ever done sympathetically these days.

    The sound of a JCB gets inside your head so easily doesn't it.

  3. Al - my son was woken by it at work this morning, and he said it sounded like JCB sex, which made me hoot!

    Jinksy - I can't understand the need to widen - you could get a combine harvester up there now - let alone a herd of cows, which normally only walk three or four abreast anyway . . .

    I know the wild flowers will come back and the ones on the higher banks are OK, but I d love my wild flowers and it is just typical of my neighbour, who memorably remarked when we first moved here, "I suppose you think it's beautiful around here." Well yes actually, and that's because it IS.

  4. Yellow Archangel, I had't heard that name before.Is that what is also called Dead nettle, or is that something else?

  5. One and the same Kath. Yellow Dead Nettle/Yellow Archangel/Weazel Snout!

  6. While it struck me odd that roads were being widened for cow traffic, not like here in the city (for cars)...the destruction looks very similar.

    Your flower photos are lovely as always

  7. The most lovely places are always a bit wild and unkempt, I think, and too many of them fall prey to someone's idea of progress or improvement. A part of my mind argues that change, even when justified, is always unpleasant for someone in a shared landscape. It seems that less disruptive, conservationist ways of doing things are not financially viable and so there is wanton upheaval and a cherished spot is destroyed.
    Next Door doesn't sound like a particularly sensitive sort--either oblivious to natural beauty or too willing to sacrifice it for a supposed convenience.