Conservation, collaboration and campaign(er)s

What a start to 2014, we had the Minister for the Environment Owen Paterson suggests that ancient woodlands can be felled if each tree lost were to be replaced with a 100 new ones!  That was on the back of a year which saw volumes of reports published evidencing losses of habitats and species.  The Ecologist, offers a contra perspective here.

Sadly now we find ourselves a little adrift of our usual ‘natural area’ territory and we look at the tradition of “Pasture Masters” across in Beverley Westwood.  A comment on the The Hull Dail Mail website describes the election process as it being “one of the country’s oldest and quirkiest elections”.  Long may such traditions not simply survive, but flourish.

But, sadly we learn that this ancient common, one well known to many of us if only because we can drive through it on the way to the East Coast is under threat.  But, thankfully such places have their champions and quite rightly so, another well qualified to fight nature’s corner and that of the community can be found through authorship of the 38 degree petion here.


A resident of Westwood Common whose wellbeing is at risk if developers are allowed to damage ancient rights of common?


It might be said that it is not disastrously significant in terms of nature conservation or environmental vandalism, BUT it sets a precedent and it continues that current trend of death by a thousand cuts.  When the haemorrhaging stops and the life blood is lost, we mourn the loss of things we had previously believed would always be.

Lest we forget the other Beverley Commons which might be considered as more diverse in their natural history interest.  Swinemoor for example.  But that too is under threat and have attracted controversy, see here.

The third is Figham Common and collectively these significant parcels of land offer wildlife and the commoners as well as the public an amazing resourse.  We can only wonder at what wildlife frequented these sites back in 1255, the date which Figham Common was first recorded.  A brief resume of the three Beverley Commons can be found here.

So, please readers consider adding your voice to the petition SAVE OUR WESTWOOD feel free to leave comments, please forward the details to your network.  Together community collaboration can make a difference. 

Black_Mill,_Beverley 2

Black Mill, Beverley Westwood by Paul Glazzard via Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0

Just in case we have any new readers who have not already signed the Forum’s petition to STOP & RETHINK NNRs as Open Access areas, please consider that one too, again PLEASE forward on to your networks.

I am reminded of some inspirational prose, the first verse of which was adopted and used on the calling card of the late Wm Bunting of Thorne.  In the 17 and 1800’s Commons were enclosed for private benefit and it would have been written as a ‘call to arms’ ….

The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
But leaves the greater villain loose
Who steals the common from off the goose.

The law demands that we atone
When we take things we do not own
But leaves the lords and ladies fine
Who take things that are yours and mine.

The poor and wretched don’t escape
If they conspire the law to break;
This must be so but they endure
Those who conspire to make the law.

The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
And geese will still a common lack
Till they go and steal it back.


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