Saturday 21 June 2014

The Erosion of Wild Space in Newark

It isn't just me that noticed it. All of a sudden, as you entered the Beacon Hill reserve, a great chaotic mass of metal link fencing appeared on the fallow farmer's field next to the path.

We didn't really pay much attention to it at the time; perhaps the farmer was just fencing an area off prior to planting it. But then one day, the JCBs turned up, and turned the field into a scene of destruction not even Fiver from Watership Down could have envisaged. Half of the field is now a Somme like patch of mud, with a large pond sitting lifelessly in the middle after the heavy rains of early June.

The other half is as yet untouched, with a scrubby cover of wild weeds acting as a home for butterflies in summer, and chaffinches and brambling in winter. It's not amazingly pretty, but it's alive.

Not specifically sure what is going on up there, but a google search revealed plans for 2013 for a hundred or so homes to go up somewhere up on the Beacon Hill area, so it may relate to that. If true, that's another splotch of overpriced brick boxes to go with all the other ones we've got here. That'll make running along the reserve path feel a little hemmed in, to say the least.

Another site is that of the recently approved Newark “Sport's Hub”. I'd been told that there's a lot of bird and insect activity on this land, adjacent to the cemetery and the NSK Sport's ground, and when I ran through it today, it sported small heath, large skipper, meadow brown and small tortoiseshell butterflies, and the beautiful scarlet flashes of cinnabar moths in the dense long grass and plants. Has anyone done any wildlife impact surveys on the area, my friend wonders?

And then there is the demolished X2 connect site, which despite being next to the oily smelling railway line, is a colourful mass of ox eye daisies and dog rose that the bumblebees are delighting in. I suppose this too is marked out for more housing.

Oh I know this town needs developing, and there's always a need for new housing, and hey, we only have 46 supermarkets, and there's always a call for new nail bars and hairdressers. But sometimes we forget that is these wild, abandoned brownfield sites often offer a better home for nature than a lovely manicured lush green park, and perhaps we shouldn't be so quick to dismiss them.

Copyright Cream Crackered Nature 19.06.14
Sports hub site, full of butterflies
The work next to Beacon Hill Park
The old X2 connect site by the East Coast railway line

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