Paul Barford highlights a report saying this is now one of the most nature-deprived countries in the world. “Nature is falling silent, and the impact on our environment, culture, health and happiness should not be underestimated.” He adds (of course!) that there is parallel heritage impoverishment due to metal detecting. For our part we’d add a further regret – the damage to the settings of many ancient sites through encroachment or unimaginative and intensive land use. Here’s our 2011 account of our visit to Hetty Peglar’s Tump …..

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“Context and “setting” are almost everything in the world of megaliths but unfortunately no-one told the twenty first century.  Although Hetty Pegler’s Tump (or Uley Long Barrow) was placed with great care at the summit of the Cotswold scarp, its magnificent 40 mile views to the West across the Severn Estuary to the Brecon Beacons are entirely lost due to a narrow belt of trees. At the same time the opposite outlook, that could well have once been bursting with variety and life, is today victim to soulless monoculture, 30 acres of barley so chemically tweaked that hardly a weed or bug is allowed.”

The view to the East ….

And to the West ….

And to the West, but for the belt of trees ….