With the end of 2018 nearly upon us (you’re probably reading this in 2019), my thoughts turn to what I’d like to cover in my blog posts in the New Year. I’m writing this as a bit of an aide memoir to myself more than anyone else, as I know from my site stats that what I write is mainly shouting into the wind – but in some ways writing is a bit of a cathartic thing for me. I’m still sat on most of my photography from the campervan trip to parts of Europe I undertook with my family in the early summer of 2018 – from that I still have to write “On Campervanning Part III” and build out my project “The Fish and Other Places“. The “Fish and Other Places”, will show off some of the photography from our trip, but what to do first – the campervanning piece or the project, as there are links between the two? (First world problems I hear you cry – and it’s a good problem to have).
I also want to do an in-depth write up of my thoughts around a talk that I gave in November entitled – “If this Land is your Land, where are your stories?”, exploring land use and our understanding, as photographers, of the land and what we take photographs of. This I think will be quite a big post.
Also on the hit list of “Things to Write about” are my round up of the photography books that I’ve acquired in 2018 and of course, what would a photography blog be without “A Best of 2018” blog post as well. 😉
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Getting to the point…
However, that’s not what this blog started off being about – I sat down this morning to write about how sad (depressed?) I got yesterday about how we treat our land. In particular, moorland burning for grouse shooting and sheep grazing. On our walk around Stanage and Bamford Edges you could see where the heather had been burnt back to allow new shoots to grow which grouse feed on. The problem with this is that the burning in places destroys what is effectively holding the thin top soil together – the roots. It is evident everywhere, as you see bare rock and small gullies form as the soil is washed away. This has knock-on consequences for our drinking water, as the soil ends up washed downstream into reservoirs. The water requires more filtration (and hence cost) to remove the soil particles that are suspended in the water.
To compound matters, sheep graze these moorlands as well – further contributing to the erosion of the soils – albeit it sheep don’t pull up the roots as cattle do. George Monbiot talks more about the impact of sheep grazing on the land in this blog post.
On Bamford Moor South, there is a small unvisited stone circle (SK221845 if you want to have a look). This has been covered in heather in the past, but that heather has now been burnt away, leaving bare soil around it, which is getting washed away, undermining some of the stones in the circle. The unintended consequences of managing the land for grouse.
I used to be, dare I say it quite pro-shooting, I saw it as a way of managing the land, utilising a resource for profit and employment that otherwise would just go to waste – I am beginning my journey away from that with every day that passes. I’m not quite sure what else there is to say, except to say it was depressing to see the state of the land and to see what is happening to it.
Below is a gallery of photographs I took on my mobile showing the state of the land around the stone circle.
My next post will be “Another Year in Photobooks – Part 1”, which will probably get posted next week once I sort it out. To find out about new blog posts and ramblings, please sign up to my mailing list.