I walked across nearby Burbage Moor today, at times suppressing a yawn.
This is a landscape of unrelieved brownness with heather gardened for grouse as determinedly as any field of cabbages in Lincolnshire. Your eye scours the distant views vainly searching for a tree to relieve the monotony. Nevertheless this sight is designed to gladden the hearts of those who rule from their desks at the Ministry of Nature and Landscape. On the strength of this view alone they can tick all boxes on their forms relating to European Special Protection Area Status and the Bird Directive (no joke!).
In the days of the Duke of Rutland and his shooting lodge at Longshaw, when much of Sheffield was hidden under an appalling atmosphere and its citizens in life threatening working conditions, maybe this scenery seemed like an unattainable paradise. Some fun was to be had dodging the gamekeepers anyway.
But today is a different matter. Socially and economically things have changed. So there’s no imperative to preserve a landscape of the past as a museum unless it satisfies other needs. And who is to decide what those other needs are? And when was there ever a public debate about this- because much of this land is held by public bodies. It always seems to me in these matters that certain groups with a particular interest get in first and ensure they get their way before the rest of us find out in time to get our act together.
Blacka in the foreground and Houndkirk Moor on the horizon.
But I’ve been told numerous times that I’m wrong. Artificial it may be but bare bleak upland moors are a threatened landscape and most of what remains in the world of this unique habitat is in our country. It is our duty…etc. Why does the same question keep coming into my mind – is this because other countries have more sense?