country park – peaceful + not so

June 16, 2014

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The Hastings Country Park Nature Reserve has over 267 hectares of ancient woodland, heathland and grassland together with 3 miles (5km) of cliffs and coastline.  Set within  the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, most of the park has been designated a Special Area of Conservation, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is a designated Local Nature Reserve. All this sets the scene for the peaceful and also should go someway to explain the problem that is occuring and identified at the end of this post. I thought to walk from Fairlight Place, down Barley  Lane where the verges are full now of a natural tapestry (the dog rose are especially glorious now – the oaks always) offering views through to the pasture only occasionally . . .

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. . . which make them special.

 

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Warm weather following months of rain mean wonderful growth on all plants. The interface of verge to stream to grasslands and meadows merge sublimely. Pieces of construction that are manmade are mainly of galvanised material . . .

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. . . but sculptural elements that emanate from nature are there too.

Some organised by man and some where nature is in control.

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Ivy exploring the oak, ash and sycamore make interesting organic compositions in Covehurst Woods and then the big view

opens across Lee Ness Ledge to Dungeness.

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Turning up the track into Long Shaw and the meandering incline to Dripping Well, clumps of  ferns  are looking spectacular. The ancestors of these were dug up, potted up and taken by train to Covent Garden market in Victorian and Edwardian times. The sound is of gushing and falling water. and the visual is lush foliage, dappled shade, patches of sun and, on this occasion, a  single fox with a light brown coat, just pausing unperturbed on the path to watch and gauge before disappearing elegantly into the

undergrowth.

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The westerly  end of the Country Park at Ecclesbourne Glen is less peaceful recently.  The owners of Rocklands (caravan park) have erected a ‘bunker’, removed trees (which may have caused a landslip and therefore the closure of paths) and increased the number of mobile homes directly interfacing the park landscape. This has been done illegally but the owners have applied for retrospective planning which they may well obtain. The ‘bunker’ has been constructed on the footprint of a single storey building and so obstructs the pleasing views that locals and visitors were able to enjoy. As the council are custodians of the Country Park, we feel aggrieved and have received little useful communication. A peaceful protest in the form of a Sunday picnic was organised and enjoyed by 200 folk who love the park and appreciate not only nature but also this particular and special coastal environment. No representatives, elected council or from the government joined us. The ‘bunker’ is shown below and then an image of festive picnic. And someone made a video of the proceedings and the story to date  (thank you Bob + Peter). Click and listen  – it’s worth it.  Ah, little stone – how simple life should be.

building  picnic

How happy is the little Stone

That rambles in the Road alone,

And doesn’t care about Careers

And Exigencies never fears —

Whose Coat of elemental Brown

A passing Universe put on,

And independent as the Sun

Associates or glows alone,

Fulfilling absolute Decree

In casual simplicity — Emily Dickinson

4 Responses to “country park – peaceful + not so”

  1. Sinclair 3168 Says:

    It looks beautiful, until those caravans come into sight. How poor nobody turned up from the council.

  2. elizabethwix Says:

    I loved the ferns and the wild roses and all the minute details of the splendid woods. How wonderful to see ferns. I always wanted to find ferns at Thorndon – but of course there was only bracken.
    Presumably no one from the council turned up because they knew they were in the wrong…and didn’t feel like explaining.

  3. julia fogg Says:

    apparently the council members had been threatened. Planning meeting tomorrow to discuss the retrospective application. Not hopeful but common sense might prevail.

  4. Tom Says:

    Couldn’t see your fox…

    Ferns by streams remind one of pre-history

    ‘Fulfil absolute decree’ is marvellous.

    Thanks for the blog x


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