Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Greenwood is dying.....

Once upon a time (about 10 years ago), there was a beautiful wood...... Greenwood. The nasty ogres from the land of smoke (London), wanted to destroy the woodland and build a dirty 6 lane motorway, a toll motorway for the rich and greedy to travel on.
Many of the local peasants and gentry alike didn't want the new road because it destroyed farms and countryside and served only big business. Something had to be done to try and save Greenwood......

Caring souls and the great unwashed took to the trees, building shelters high up in the branches. Deep beneath the roots tunnels were dug and there they lay in wait for the bailiffs to come.
(The beardy weirdy on the ladder is me!)

A year past by, and the locals lived in the woods come rain or shine. Soon there were so many that the nearby local deserted farmstead was taken over as well. 'Moneymore house' and 'Greenwood' lived in fear of the road and the rough tactics of the Sheriffs men and his hired hands... 'the men in black'.
The helicopter loomed over each night, menacing the woodland inhabitants and counting their number. Then, one day the press were herded into a small enclosure so they might not see anything that would upset them. The roads were closed, the helicopter watched from the skies. Van after van turned up, and the governments men tumbled out.

Greenwood was surrounded, tree dwellers ripped from the branches and whispered away. The chainsaws shouted their war cry as the boughs were removed from the mature trees so that no one would have the audacity to climb them ever again.
The men in black turned their attentions to Moneymore, now castellated and warrened. For days they battled those on the rooves, playing cat and mouse across the tiled heights, lofty branches and ariel rope ways. Once dealt with, it was only the tunnellers left. Deep underground in a maze of burrows they lived their lives in the damp and dark, listening to the scratchings of the Sheriffs men as they slowly dug them out. After over a week underground the last protester was removed after risking losing his arm to infection from being locked to a solid lump of concrete to prevent his removal.

It was all over, the big business had won. The wood was lost, farms were demolished, wildlife driven out, 15th century 'Boundary Cottage' smashed to the ground without the reverence it deserved.
I went back to my life, an old sign from the woods as my only souvenir.
Greenwood was dissected, never to be whole again. The hillside it occupied was dug out and replaced with the greyness of the motorway, with its unimaginative bridges and toll booths.

I took solice that a small part of the wood survived.....

.... until now. It's become apparent that Greenwood is dying.

High up on the exposed hillside, the more delicate species have lost their 'overcoat' of surrounding Birches leaving them to the mercies of the weather.

Bit by bit, tree by tree, they are falling victim. Leafless and barkless they stand defiantly glaring across the scar on their heritage.

To the west, the land slopes downward and out of the cutting wind. Here, the survivors huddle, the last sanctuary of Greenwood.

The ancient Sweet Chestnuts and Oaks hold on here to their last little corner. The old badger set is still lived in at the foot of the giant Chestnut tree, squirrels in the branches, blackbirds peck in the leaves in the Bluebell patch and the deer still browse through.
Greenwood is dying, piece by piece, but it's not done yet. Let's hope that there will forever be a corner of England called.....Greenwood.


Lesley said...

So called progress, it happens everywhere and always destroys something beautiful.

Foster Communications said...

I like how you wrote this is fairy tale format.

It makes me think of that song, Big Yellow Taxi. "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot." Joni Mitchell?

It's a damn shame.

Foster Communications said...

It was bugging me so I had to Google it. Joni Mitchell then remade by Counting Crows.

They took all the trees,
Put 'em in a tree museum;
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see 'em.
Don't it always seem to go,
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone—
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot!

Lavender said...

I despair for the earth...Ive been mourning the loss of a small patch of remnant bush near me - and it was no where near the age Greenwood was....

photowannabe said...

That is so sad. Politics can be so thoughtless and I guess its all about money in the long run. I hope the little bit of Greenwood will remain. Terrific writing style and way you have conveyed this.
they paved paradise and put up a parking lot sure says it all.

Random Magus said...

What a beautiful way to express this tragedy!

JLee said...


You have such a way of capturing the beauty of trees.

Outhouse Capital of Canada said...

Damn that toll road, I took it by mistake when I was over in 2006. They made it that the toll road is the way to go and you have to turn off to get to the M5, I had to go all the way around B'ham to get back and pay the toll.
Driving south on the M6 automatically takes you on to the toll road.If you dont take an exit, pay up.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

another great post, it reminded me of my friend Lucy who met an elderly suffragette a few years ago. Lucy asked her what she would have done differently if she were to live her life again. In a heartbeat the elderly rabble rouser replied
"I'd have been more radical".

'We got to fight the powers that be
Lemme hear you say
Fight the power'

barkfoot said...

Outhouse Capital of Canada - The way this road is layed out and signed tricks you into using it. They've been deliberately misleading in many ways. It's an entirely private road but is connected to the public roads in such a way as to force you to have to use it. Many of the country lanes which would afford one a more direct and cheaper alternative have mysteriously been closed off.
It was sold as a relief road to take much of the heavy goods traffic off the M6, but at £9 for the 27 mile trip (£3 a mile) it is clear that the operators don't want this type of vehicle which is damaging to their road surface.
Yesterday they were in the news as the operators are being investigated for unfair practices as the price has gone up by 50% since opening, at the same time traffic levels are dropping significantly.

Pablo said...

Nice post.

Floderten said...

Aaw. :( What a sad (and unfortunately true) story! Though two things sort of amused me. 1) the fact that they were picking people out of trees, and 2) the guy in the red helmet had written down everything he was going to say. Like a speech. o_o Is that what people do in England??

Poor trees. I really hope what remains will stay!

Floderten said...

Aaw. :( What a sad (and unfortunately true) story! Though two things sort of amused me. 1) the fact that they were picking people out of trees, and 2) the guy in the red helmet had written down everything he was going to say. Like a speech. o_o Is that what people do in England??

Poor trees. I really hope what remains will stay!

Lavender said...

Mate, when you have a moment, stop by my place for a little something, Have a great day!

photowannabe said...

Thanks for your comments on my tree. Its just about leafless now so I don't think I have any good descriptions of it.

Elisa, Jarrod, Thomas & Zoe said...

I know how passionate you were about saving Greenwood.
It is sad to see picture's of it now.
I think I will barely recognize the area when I visit sad.
At least there is one nice thing that came of it..isn't it where you met your girlfiend Jenny?

barkfoot said...

Elisa - OK, so maybe I bought back two souvenirs from Greenwood, a sign AND Jenny.

secret agent said...

But surely you understand that people are the only things that matter.......this whole planet is for "us" and us alone.
I centuries old trees must die, and creatures go homeless,
people need to get to work quicker right??