Thursday, December 8, 2016

Protecting One Of England’s Most Dramatic Natural Landscapes

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) was one of the most influential Romantic poets. He was born in Cumbria and in 1799 he settled at Dove Cottage in Grasmere where he wrote his most famous poem ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’ in 1804.

Grasmere has been my UK home for over a decade, inspired by Wordsworth’s lines in his poem 'The Recluse': “On Nature’s invitation do I come,/By Reason sanctioned. Can the choice mislead,/That made the calmest, fairest spot on earth,/With all its unappropriated good,/My own.”

Just as efforts are getting underway to promote literary tourism in the Lake District, the National Grid are planning to fill the clouds with 150 foot electrical pylons, fencing in a 3.5km stretch in the Whicham Valley, just 10 metres from the Lake District Park's legal boundary. The line of pylons will also run right across the top of the Duddon Estuary interrupting stunning views into and out of the high fells of the Lake District, scarring a cherished landscape steeped in history.

Landscape charity Friends of the Lake District and campaign group Power Without Pylons have teamed up to fight the pylon plan. “We do not consider ourselves as NIMBYs, but rather LAYBYs. This stands for ‘Looking After Your Back Yard’. We are trying to protect our wonderful landscape for all the future generations of visitors.”

Graham Barron, secretary of Power Without Pylons, said: “Protecting this important area is not just a local issue but a national issue. Over 40 million people visit Cumbria each year to enjoy these special landscapes: they don't want them scarred by lumps of metal and unsightly overhead wires. There are feasible alternatives to pylons which we have campaigned for from the outset. If enough people state their objections to giant pylons in writing we believe the wall of opposition will force National Grid to reconsider.”

Christopher Wordsworth, descendant of the poet said, “William Wordsworth was enthralled by the unique beauty of the Duddon, which inspired his famous series of sonnets. As much as the works of my ancestor are an important part of our literary heritage, his ‘long-loved Duddon’ is an important part of our natural heritage. We owe it to his memory to preserve its beauty for future generations to enjoy.”

Friends of the Lake District are urging local people to take part in a consultation which ends on the 6th of January. Take inspiration from the protesters of the South Dakota pipeline. The people of Cumbria have accepted nuclear power plants in the region that form a key element of the UK’s national electricity grid. We will not accept, however, the industrialization of our revered landscape that is enjoyed by millions of Britons and international travelers.