Wednesday, 27 July 2011

This week: Harold Drasdo in The Trefriw chainsaw massacre!

Original photo: Bruce Atkins

"Of course, this same prospect is wide with promise for the trespasser. Vast areas of woodland, water catchment, even of nature reserve are to be set aside for his use.You might think him a contented man. In fact he nurses a
spark of anger. All this fuss about a walk in the country. All this expense of spirit which might otherwise be employed more productively. To have to travel forever an outlaw in one's own country, when life is so short. I refer you to a seamless little poem by Housman and to its irrefutable conclusion. The trespasser may not eroticise the presences of nature as Housman does. He may be disconcerted by the poet's arrogation of the scene — unfairly turning around, to reject me, the word I've been using so freely. Probably, though, he'll admit that what is most remote and inhuman can come. to seem close and precious as it dawns on us that we only get one shot.

For nature, heartless, witless nature,
Will neither care nor know
What stranger's feet may find the meadow
And trespass there and go,
Nor ask amid the dews of morning
If they are mine or no."

This week, Harold Drasdo laments the appalling access situation which applies to UK waterways both on the riverbanks on on the watercourses. The denial of public access vigourously applied by landowners and farmers who appear to have local councils and national and devolved governments in the palms of their podgy hands! 

Only 9% of British waterways are open to the public. Any attempts to paddle or walk the remaining 91% are often met with threats and intimidation from the powerful riparian movement.