It is one of my most basic tennets that you can never do enough research. so I jumped at the chance to visit Scottish Borderlands last weekend, for a music festival and also to walk in the hills. I drove up through the Pennines and their Welsh style bleak sheepscapes. These were bad enough but in Galloway and Dumfries and in the hinterland of Moffat it was just something else, sheer insanity in landscape with bizarre forest shapes dotted into bleak barren valleys, grazed to within a millimetre of desert with periodic windmills, I mean Wind Turbines, of such giant stature that they were almost intimidating.
Four weeks later, I went to Ruthin, just twenty miles distant. As a backdrop to this pleasant, historical town is a ridge which carries Offa’s Dyke, an ancient method used to enclose the Welsh! Again it now carries these crazy conifer scars – stupid shapes etched into the sheep shorn landscape, creating a scarred and profoundly non-restful panorama.
I attached pictures of both landscapes. Although the local (Ruthin) ones are not as dramatic as the Scottish ones they show the commonality of the problem. Where there would naturally be a thriving, deciduous woodland there is now artificially maintained inappropriate and damaging systems. And the irony is that most people think it’s the natural countryside – when practically none of it is!