On my wanders there are a few places that cause me concern and irritation. These are the barriers and fences erected by private woodland owners to segregate their areas from the public land and footpaths. In some ways I can understand their caution, there are people who would abuse the area in terms of fly tipping, vandalism and occupation but it does seem unnatural to barrier the woods in such a way.
Last year the news was released of a proposed sell off of public woods and forests. An image was painted of local people banding together to buy their own patch of green and pleasant land where they can watch nature and camp overnight for a few days a year. Having worked with developers in the past I remain unconvinced. I would expect these companies to begin buying up land and wait until there is a possibility of laws and planning regulations being relaxed to allow their kind of development.
Many years ago I read a book called The Making of the English Landscape by W.G. Hoskins. The book charts mans effects on the landscape and after reading it I realised just how little wild land we have left in the country and how mans influence has been slow but steady. From my point of view, selling the woodlands would allow this spread into some of the last places where nature still holds strong. At first it will be subtle, no doubt prompting comments such as "well we sold off the woods, but there has been little real effect", however I believe it is just the very beginning and gradually the fences and signs will emerge, walkers and ramblers will be limited to the official public footpaths and commerce will slowly but surely begin to nibble away at the woodland.
I am a firm believer that people should be working and living within the woodlands. The woods are an amazing natural resource where we can grow and harvest materials for crafts, forage and work with nature. I suspect such people are not likely to be able to afford the land when companies may well be looking to invest outside of banks for a better rate of return.
If you have a minute and have not done so already, I would ask you to please consider signing the petition to object to the selling off of our forests and woods.
I would also encourage you to go for a walk in the woods to see what you could begin to lose out on if this goes ahead. In a few years time you could be attempting to take the same walk after paying to park, following the fence lined public footpaths with other walkers and passing ominous white planning application notices tacked to the newly erected fences.