In the 21st century what is meant by a “natural landscape”? What is it that makes a landscape special? How do the people who live, work and play in a particular area relate to It? What part do these landscapes play in the lives of those who live in more urban environments?

In the event of changes to the landscape brought about by significant climate change, how will people respond to any measures taken to help protect that landscape and its possible uses?

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Today, Sunday I went out with the Honddu Dippers, a group of people who give freely their own time to clear up the litter and rubbish of others. This group focuses on the canal and the Rivers Usk and Honddu that run through the town of Brecon. In two hours the group collected 6 bags of rubbish, consisting mostly of drinks containers and take away food packaging. They also collected a skate board, a bike, a 5 litre plastic container full of paint and a range of metal objects. Asked if they felt the community at large were either shamed by their activities, of at least showed some level of gratitude, the group consensus was no. The general public where more likely to see them as people carrying out some sort of community service, or simply council workers who were, after all, paid to clear up after them.

Last Friday I met Susan, a farmer living and working a small farm just outside of Brecon. Susan is at the beginning of her 8th  decade and now only runs a small flock of sheep, each of whom has a name and a character known and understood by Susan. Her oldest ewe Daisy May is still enjoying life at 17 years of age. Alongside this small flock of sheep are ducks, geese, dogs, cats and horses. In addition there is a garden area containing a very wide variety of trees and shrubs including two red woods and Panda quality Bamboo . At the top of her farm land is a mixed wood containing some very fine Oaks, Water Alder, and Silver Birch. Susan has rights to run her sheep on the hills but says lack of grass means that the sheep ware down their teeth and this shortens there life expectancy to around 7 years of age.

Susan has applied for a preservation order to be placed on her barns and oak trees but this request has been declined because amongst other things, she is there to look after them. Susan is 80 and wants to know that after she has gone the trees won’t be grubbed up and the barns turned into a holiday home complex. She wants some form of assurance that the fine oaks will be allowed to stay and the, barns will be allowed to stay keeping their welsh barn -ness, something that is rapidly disappearing from the countryside.

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