Forested slopes to the North with a fast flowing river in the valley bottom and, of course, an uninterrupted swathe of meadows and moorland. The building of both the Trans Pennine section of the M62 motorway and Boothwood reservoir changed life at the farm forever.
The original track to the farm disappeared under dark, peaty water when a huge dam wall was built to create a new reservoir that would supply Wakefield with water. During prolonged dry spells when the water level is low the old cobbled farm track can be seen in the muddy slopes of the reservoir.
A new access road was built to the farm which now zigzags its way up the hillside through trees and banks of heather and bilberry plants. It’s a pleasant drive, the sound of the motorway is barely discernible and the varied trees and shrubs provide a rich habitat for a variety of bird life. Unfortunately, our entrance seems to be a favoured spot for fly tippers.
We’re constantly blighted with endless piles of rubbish from burnt out cars to waste from a fish and chip shop. It’s usually dumped tight up against our gate which means we have to get the tractor to move it.
It isn’t just our drive that is a favoured spot, the road that leads up through our moor is regularly covered in someone’s rubbish. Bin liners full of household waste are flung from cars, bursting open leaving the contents spread across the heather and cotton grass. It leaves me blind with rage and despairing at such a thoughtless and selfish species we are fast becoming.
It’s such a protected and valued area, the landscape so rare and fragile, yet it’s incredibly important role this carbon-trapping peat moorland plays, is constantly overlooked. Or perhaps for those that willingly damage it, it’s just seen as a barren, wet wasteland, ideal for getting rid of unwanted detritus. Whatever the reason behind this selfish never-ending destruction, it leaves us sickened.
Leaving Paul at home to clip the remaining hill sheep, John-William and I headed south to one of our favourite shows, The National Pony Society Championships, held in the glorious Malvern Hills at the Three Counties Showground.
Having worked hard all year towards qualifying our ponies, we look forward to returning here. It takes us almost a week to pack the wagon for the four-day show and usually twice as long to sort through it when we get home!
The miles of walking and carrying bales of hay from the car park to the stables hopefully helps to cancel out the quantity of chocolate biscuits, cans of pop and, in John-William’s case, countless ‘Hungry Hereford’s’ burgers and sausage sandwiches consumed.
It’s great catching up with friends and creating new friendships with people you’re parked or stabled next to.