What would the world be, once bereft Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left, O let them be left, wildness and wet; Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.
Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)
Yesterday I went to a conference about the conservation of the UK's dwindling wetlands. I found it very interesting, particularly the presentation about The Great Fen Project, which aims to bring 'wildness and wet' back to 3,000 hectares of Huntingdonshire.
The highlight of the day was a visit to the Humberhead Peatlands National Nature Reserve (better known as Thorne & Hatfield Moors). I haven't been there for about 5 years, so I was fascinated to hear about the work that's being done to restore the areas devastated by peat extraction. I must make another visit this summer... if I can face the prospect of being eaten alive by horse-flies!
There's no sign of an end to the current cold snap. Yesterday I walked from Fairholmes to Lodge Moor via Stanage Edge. It was really bleak on the moors, walking into the face-gnawing, finger-numbing north-easterly wind. The semi-frozen ground made the going fairly treacherous, so I was glad when I finally reached the road at Redmires.
Despite the wintry conditions, the lapwings and snipe were displaying as I crossed the rushy pastures near Moscar House. There were, however, no wheatears to be seen along Stanage Edge. Usually the first of these summer migrants arrive in the Peak District in mid-March. If they have any sense, they'll stay in Africa until the thaw sets in!