Is there anything more depressing than sitting in a planning meeting, as I am now, thinking about a planned country walk, then seeing the schematics displayed for concreting over it? Well, yes – doing the walk and watching the diggers doing their work. Yet it is coming, inevitably, and here I sit, helpless.
There are wild places aplenty still – go and see them, and quickly.
In Lancashire, one brave and hardy soul is preparing to walk around the whole county, seeing both the heavily industrialised lands, swallowed forever by the works of man, but also the wild fells where a man may stand and look for mile upon mile on anywhen moorland forgetting which century he is in.
I am preparing a new walk, ambitious in its way, to see the edges of Hertfordshire, familiar and unfamiliar. I will get out there to convince myself that this is still a pretty county, with its woods, its meadows and rivers and its broad fields, peeping through in places behind cruel concrete, alas. Still, I have walked the suburban wild before, and there must be more that remains green than the urbanised creep, still?
I have just looked up to see a familiar path on my route dotted along the southern boundary of a development site. I sigh inwardly, powerless.
I must hurry, and see the county, while the county lasts.