The Next Book: Exploration 2 – Guildford

It’s a bright sunny Sunday, and the spring seems to have really arrived with temperatures high enough to leave the coat at home: what a relief! My next bit of location for research for my proposed North Downs book is Guildford, the County Town of Surrey which sits where the River Wey cuts through the hills. Guildford is a major road and rail interchange so has grown much larger than Dorking, and has it’s own cathedral and university. Guildford also has an 11th century castle which

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Wind Turbine Debate – More on the ‘T’ Word

Following my recent blog about the wind turbine proposal near Ford, there is an excellent article in the CPRE’s magazine this month that states the case from both sides. It is also to be found at http://www.cpre.org.uk/magazine/opinion/item/2802-getting-wind-energy-right I think that the most useful point made is by Rachel Coxcoon, who is broadly in favour of more turbines because of our need to produce our own energy without large carbon emissions. She says that the problem is more one of people feeling disempowered, and having infrastructure thrust

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What is humane about the UK Badger Cull?

Humane (adjective): Kind or considerate towards people or animals. The opposite is ‘beastly’. Introduction: The UK Government has decided to carry out a cull of badgers in an attempt to deal with bovine tuberculosis which infects some of the UK cattle herd. Over 100,000 of a protected species could be killed with little certainty about outcomes, and alternative solutions remain undeveloped. Such wildlife massacres have occurred throughout human existence, and we take full advantage of our technology to kill more efficiently where we should be using

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Don’t Mention The ‘T’ Word!

  The owner of Lower Waldridge Farm (Mr Jeremy Elgin) in the county of Buckinghamshire, Near Aylesbury, is proposing to put a wind turbine on his land that will generate electricity for the National Grid. This has stirred up highly organised and vocal opposition that is passionate, and fixed in it’s view. For the protestors, it is instantly a question of right and wrong, a gut reaction, and emotional. We have lived with power pylons striding for hundreds of miles across the countryside through beautiful areas,

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A Visit To The Rhine Land

Strasbourg is a French city, but only just: it is in the easterly province of Alsace and sits on The Rhine river which forms the border with Germany. The Rhine is a mighty river, and regarded by Wagner as so German that he based the legend of his Ring Cycle there: the first opera being Das Rheingeld. It leaves Switzerland at Basel and flows northwards in it’s wide and fertile valley, between the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) and the Vosges mountains towards Strasbourg, The Netherlands and finally

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Most of us are addicts…..

I read in the New York Times that people in the States (Land Of The Free, subject to terms and conditions and having money) are having to think twice about knocking down the old house and building a brand new one when they move, and of students brewing their own coffee rather than buying a moccachino in the cafe, or using library books instead of buying them. Good! Even if it’s only temporary. To each of us, having more money, more freedom, more choice is a

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Who Cares Enough To Act, And Why?

Over 50 years of environmental activism I find that I, among thousands of stronger, more dedicated people am living in a world that would have horrified me as a youth, because the situation is worse than I think I could have imagined. Had you told me that the human population of The Earth would have more than doubled, from 3 billion to 7 billion, and that each of us would be using vastly more resources than in, say, 1960 it would have seemed blindingly obvious that

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The Mysteries In The Forest Floor

Ancient woodland has been continually wooded since at least 1600AD, and some may even link back to the original wildwood that covered the UK around 10,000 years ago, after the last Ice Age. There are ancient beech woods in the Chiltern Hills which I explore at all times of the year. They are particularly lovely in the spring and autumn when the colours are vibrant with the changing season. Beech trees are very stately, their smooth grey trunks, like cathedral columns rising from the leafy forest

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A Walk In The Countryside – Get Involved In Nature’s Resurgance

It is an August Sunday in Cuddington, in rural South Buckinghamshire. The air is a mild 20 degrees centigrade and an occasional breeze wafts the ripe wheat, and the sun has a pleasant intensity when it moves out from behind the broken cloud. I set off for a walk through the local countryside for exercise, enjoyment of the scenery and to try to get some good wildlife photographs. Down Spickett’s Lane there are several wild plum trees festooned with fruit and I stretch up, standing on

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