I make no apologies for my love of this landscape - counting each day I spend under clear and unpolluted skies amongst these gently rolling hills, part of a companionable farming community, as a bonus. Some days my heart just soars with the joy of simply Being. Being here. Soppy perhaps, but no apologies. I tell you the truth. That's how it is.
Then from out of the blue - like an arrow to the heart - comes the proposal to run a power corridor through the Rea Valley to join the wind farms which clutter the Welsh uplands with an existing heavy duty national transmission network between Shrewsbury and Wrexham. Apparently it is just that at present, a proposal. The National Grid are currently carrying out 'a consultation' between two options - there are a choice of 2 routes. The one which affects the us (aka the Purple South corridor) also involves the construction of a sub-station about 6 miles away at Abermule - and we are not talking about some wires and a few small grey boxes behind an itsy fence here - we're talking 19 acres of full-on electrical horror. It will be a similar story for the other proposed route. It looks as if it's blighted here.....or blighted there.
The power could go underground or, most probably, take an overland route and be carried by pylons; monstrous pylons that are 50m tall and spaced at 350m intervals. The 'artist's impression' below shows how our landscape could be transformed by these monsters as the pass across the front of Stockton wood and over the roof of the Lowfield Inn. Awful. Awful. Awful.
The Rea Valley is an unsullied place of gently undulating arable land, bounded to the west by the slopes of the Long Mountain and to the east by the Stiperstones and Shropshire Hills - a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Small villages, Westbury, Worthen, Broxton, Aston Piggot and Aston Rogers and Marton are strung like beads on a necklace along the B road which winds its way along the valley bottom. To the west are Asterley, Pontesbury and Minsterley and perched on the hill, Snailbeach and Stiperstones - add to the mix numerous small hamlets and outlying farms. Stand anywhere and it would be hard not to be in awe of this splendid landscape.
I could give you statistics about flora and fauna - we have that in abundance. Listed buildings and historic sites - yep, we have those too, aplenty.
We will certainly sign the 'No Pylons in Rea Valley' petition organised locally. If you feel this issue will affect you please visit www.nopylonsinreavalley.co.uk and add your voice to the protest. This is not something to be taken lying down. There is opposition and there will continue to be opposition. My hackles have risen.
I pray that this consultation process is actually meaningful and not just a rubber stamping exercise. Cynic? Moi?