Monday May15th - the first part of the walk, Ashwater to Holsworthy

Latest update, March 2009: during this walk I passed within three miles of the

location for a new site proposed in June 2008 at Brandis Corner

(four 125m high turbines) Another site, (15 turbines of similar height) has been proposed for Chilla Moor,

not very far to the east of Brandis Corner. As many of us have warned, they keep getting bigger.

How long will it be before we are fighting 600ft high ones?

They are already a possibility in Wales, so I hear.

From the diary of the walk:

(More photos coming in here, scroll down to see one from closer to the site)

Ivan BuxtonMonday early...."Dad and Sandy go off to Brighton this morning – they will be in a rush and leaving early so I have already said my goodbyes yesterday. I`m glad to have the morning here still, so that I can spend more time with John, and also see Margaret when she comes down ....."

Written Monday evening....."Ivan came at 12 and drove me to the bridge at Ashwater. He also had offered to take my other heavier rucksack on to Bradworthy for me. It was a grey day, with low cloud, and quite cool.  I asked if I could take his photograph and here he is, standing near the bridge.

I started with real enthusiasm up the the hill out of Ashwater. I have always loved hills, not just looking at them but walking and most of all running up them, the steeper the better, in fact the only kind I don`t like are long draggy ones. When I was a runner I loved doing what what was called hill-reps- running up a steep hill, down again, and then up again, a number of times.

Ashwater School

I imagined I was still in my running days and attacked the hill, going at a good pace, (for walking!) of about 16-17 minutes a mile. I went past Ashwater School, and thought how good it was to see a village school still thriving. I took some photos of it, including their recycling sheds. As the walk progressed and I took more and more photos this had a cumulative effect on my timing, until I could no longer tell how many minutes a mile I was doing, but anyway, it wasn`t a race.

water towerAfter a couple of miles or so I passed the turn-off where the Swingdon turbine would be, and the tower that is on the spot was visible, though at least a mile away. It was a water tower, perhaps 20ft high, so there was no doubt a large 80m? Turbine would dominate the landscape. The Higher Beckett hills had been shrouded in mist – presumably because they were higher.

There wasn`t much traffic – perhaps three or four cars a mile – but once I was onto the smaller road to Hollocombe it was even quieter. I`ve walked this route before, and its a most delightful area, with real charm. As around Brent Tor, I felt that I was back in real country, as it used to be when I was young. Jon Hooper, a local member of the Green party, has argued with me that to hanker after the rural scene we once knew is just nostalgic, the countryside is man-made and changing. It is a common argument made by those who want to see giant turbines everywhere.  I agree the countryside is man-made, but the English countryside at its best demonstrates how man can live in harmony with nature. I  would like more wilderness – I certainly don`t want more industrialisation. To me, being Green means loving green things, caring about the Earth and nature, and not wanting to fill it with concrete.

Neaar the fish farm

The banks were high with flowers- so many bluebells, stitchwort, sometimes an orchid, still some primroses, stitchwort intertwined with sticky burr, buttercups and parsley, one of the varieties I usually call cow parsley but probably isn`t. The views were both intimate – small fields with cattle or sheep grazing in them – and wide views of wooded valleys as I came down into them. I passed a fish -farm then took a hill out of the valley.

Cottage near Holsworthy
I remember passing a cottage with a mas of lilac blossom on the tree in its garden, and then as I approached Holsworthy the road became busier again – well, two or three cars passed me. I had to put on my rain jacket, put my camera away and put up my umbrella.

2009 note: this spot was about the closest that I came to the new sites of Brandis Corner and Chilla Moor.  

Ivan had told me that there was a photo of the start in the Western Morning News, so in Holsworthy I went into the local supermarket and picked one up. I stopped briefly for a cup of tea in a small cafe, used the public toilets by the bus-stop and the church, then went on, towards Bradworthy, with my umbrella up."

Click here for the second part of this walk, from Holsworthy to Bradworthy

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