So the plan had been to get up early head off into the Goyt and see if I could spot the Short Eared Owls that were seen on Saturday. Well I got up early, and having tipped Lilly the Collie off the bed, had a look out of the window. It was a glorious morning. The sun was not up yet but the sky was pretty clear, well at least the patch that I could see from my window was. But we had had a heavy frost. I popped down stairs, out of the front door and examined the car. I decided against clearing the frost off. After all it was not yet six and I doubted that my neighbours would appreciate the disturbance. So a change of plan was called for then. By now Lilly was down stairs and nudging her balls in a meaningful sort of way. So the back field it was.
The back field is a sort of recreation ground come children’s playground. Not that the later fact encourages people to pick up their dog mess. It is a great place for a dog to run and chase and as that is what Lilly likes doing best, that is what we decided to do. Once she has had a good race around we set off and explore the old tip and railway sidings. The tip is a mess though nature is doing her best to fight back and there are trees and shrubs that have established themselves there. And plenty of rabbits to be chased but never quite caught. In the early summer, on a warm sunny day the places buzzes with insects and butterflies, and birds with beaks full of food for their young. Occasionally a sparrow hawk will fly overhead on its way to raid the garden bird feeders on the new estate on the other side of the railway. Four flaps and a glide and then the plunge on to the unsuspecting garden birds.
I stopped to chat to the man with two border terriers. He told me that there was permission to build on the land but that the levels of contamination were such that so far no one had been that keen, though they were probably waiting for the link road to be built from the A6 and that was proving troublesome.
The path, which the man with two border terriers opened up ten years ago, is now being cut up by trail bikes, and there are piles of bottles and cans and other party debris. Yet despite this and despite the horrors that lurk beneath the surface, it is a lovely spot. Even though the railway line is close by, it is possible in the early morning as the sun rises over old Fairfield to find a little bit of peace and quiet and to watch nature get on with things. We lose these precious spaces at our peril. They are as important as the spectacular landscapes, the waterfalls and the mountains, as often there is a greater biodiversity of plants and animals on these brown field sites and they are only a short walk away from where we live.
It is worth fighting for. Let’s hope the road doesn’t get built.