Road closed for 6 weeks, from 7/2/22,' reads a road-sign. With our direct and daily route prohibited we have less freedom than in lockdown. It undermines our way of life.
Nothing prepared us for the scale of environmental damage, the loss of habitat, loss of species. To reach Scout Scar, we must somehow negotiate a wasteland of noise and pollution, with the danger of heavy vehicles and fast traffic on a narrow country road. For six weeks we won't have access at all.
I mourn the loss and I am far from alone in this lament. Many walk this way daily, and have done so all their lives.
How environmentally-friendly are housing developments at Ghyll Heights and Brigsteer Rise? In the year of COP 26 we should expect to find eco-friendly specifications in planning, design and construction. Will there be sustainable construction, using sustainably sourced materials? Will houses be energy-efficient, low carbon? I searched the Story Homes website for Brigsteer Rise, hoping to read of their commitment to the eco-friendly build. Finding nothing, I rang Story Homes asking where I might find their policy statement. The lady did not know but said she would ring back. I’m still waiting.
So, what is lost? From Ghyll Brow to Stainbank Green trees have been felled all along the embankment which was a wildlife corridor. JCBs gouge out the earth where the road junction is planned. Here was a pasture where meadow saxifrage and cuckoo flower grew, a barn owl hunted here. Long-tailed tits and tree creepers nested. Kestrel used to nest in the barn abutting the building site at Ghyll Heights. Here is habitat lost, wildlife corridors lost, species lost. Visually, it’s shocking. It’s noisy and dangerous. This way for the nature cure, through road-works and building sites!!
Incomprehensible that the SLDC spent so much of our money on consultation meetings where we were invited to write down measures to mitigate environmental damage, to safeguard walkers bound for Scout Scar. All that was discussed and agreed has been ignored.
I contacted Cumbria Highways, twice, to ask if the road would still be open to pedestrians during the specified six weeks. It will not. I explained that we had been promised a continuous footpath and 20 mph road signs back in 2012. I was told no money would be available for the coming year for road signs saying ‘ Slow’ (meaningless and not what we asked for). More evasion.
I feel for young people, fearful of the consequences of Climate Change, angered to see such reckless destruction of the environment, of habitat, of species. Do not believe that the older generation acquiesces and does nothing. We may achieve little but we are fighting for your inheritance, for all that is wondrous in Nature.
Ghyll Brow an approach to Scout Scar
Where does the countryside begin? We may not find it tomorrow where we left it yesterday.
( copyright. from Cumbrian Contrasts A Vision of Countryside. Jan Wiltshire 2016)