The fields, woodland, hedgerows and copses are alive with native birds, hoovering up the last of the bugs and berries which the summer provided in abundance.
There are also foxes and badgers - too many. Rabbits, squirrels, deer, stoats and harvest mice. The countryside and farms are a veritable wildlife haven, most notably areas which are managed by experienced gamekeepers. Good husbandry of pheasants, partridge and duck for the all-important shooting industry, results in a habitat attractive to wild birds which soar in numbers.
Game cover crops planted with maize, sunflowers, vetch, millet, sorghum, kale, chicory and or mustard, provide valuable feed. So too the grain placed around the farms which also attract wild birds.
Taking all of the above into account, I find it baffling that the Government appears to have ‘caved in’ to the extraordinary nonsensical demands of Chris Packham. His call for limiting the release of pheasants within 500 meters of Britain’s Sites of Special Interest (SSSIs) is clearly the thin edge of the wedge. If Government continues to follow Mr Packham’s advice, the countryside, wildlife and rural jobs will be the losers.
For centuries the countryside has been managed by experts, namely the farmers and gamekeepers who ensure that wildlife and their habitats thrive, alongside well managed shoots.
I am sure BBC presenter Packham is utterly charming, but once again clearly demonstrating his lack of understanding about wildlife and countryside matters.
I do not believe that Government ministers really wish the countryside to become sanitised, tarmacked, silent and overflowing with cyclists, thus pushing the natural flora and fauna into remote isolated parts of the country.
However, it is deeply concerning to witness many plans to urbanise the countryside, here in the South East in particular. In our parish there is a daft idea to create a super cycle highway by tarmacking a beautiful ancient and well used bridle path, popular with dog walkers, horse riders and the occasional off road cyclists.
Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC) are eager to spend millions of pounds on transforming the Theobalds ancient bridle path which cuts across private land where the locals enjoy peace and tranquillity, linking Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill, into a six meter wide tarmacked super highway, including overhead lighting and art installations.
There is very little chance that cyclists would travel this route but the locals, dog walkers and horse riders who are campaigning against this desecration of the countryside, are so far, being totally ignored.
MSDC owns all the land running adjacent to the railway line between Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill stations. This more appropriate route would be far more direct, cheaper and usable for cyclists, as opposed to the Theobalds bridle path. The plan would destroy ancient hedgerows, fell oak trees which are hundreds of years old, and destroy natural habitats for wildlife, and drive away regular local walkers and riders who would be in danger of being mown down by Lycra clad, go faster helmeted silent cyclist travelling at up to 23MPH. It is unlikely they would use is, preferring dedicated cycle tracks without bends.
As once again we go into lock-down it is clear that economically the consequences are dire. The cost to the treasury hardly bears thinking about but it is clear the PM, so desperate not to impose a national lock down, has been persuaded by the ‘experts’.
However, consider if we had remained in the EU how much worse it would be. Watching the catastrophic impact that Corvid 19 is having on numerous EU countries which in due course we would have been called upon to bail out.