Well, much good it would have done you. And anyway there is a strong sense that nobody is going to scrutinise the implementation of the plans despite much time and public money having gone into their production. An example presents itself at the far north west end of Blacka near the small Stony Ridge car park. Here there is a fascinating piece of woodland with some excellent wildly characterful trees, the woodland known in maps as Strawberry Lee Plantation. Here you will find pine and birch and alder all uniquely attractive to groups of mammals and birds and humans because it is surrounded by the dreaded rhododendron. For once this shrub does a valuable job sheltering the woodland from cruel and persistent winds. In SWT's current management plan this is acknowledged partly perhaps as a response to some of us reminding them of this. The plan says that any removal of rhododendron will be limited in order to maintain this value and will be on the inside of the wood, as visitors do quite like the flowers when they come in May. But a few weeks ago SWT came along, presumably with some time to spare and not much idea of how to spend it, and hacked away at the outside of the rhododendron belt leaving a much reduced opportunity for the flowers to be viewed, but, even worse, a generally scarred appearance that is at odds with the balanced words written in the management plan
As the management plans says:For the period of this plan therefore, efforts should concentrate on the control of spreading rhododendron on the heathland from the woodland; the removal, and clearance adjacent to the footpath running parallel to Hathersage Road, so as to retain good sightlines and a wide route; the control of rhododendron in Strawberry Lee Plantation by removing from the inside of the woodland to prevent further encroachment; and the removal of isolated patches of rhododendron (present in Blacka Plantation and within the heathland compartment)
No wonder our fingers are crossed when they turn up with their trucks and volunteers in the mornings.