Friday, 12 August 2016

From Black Hill to Green Hill

Guest blog post by Gordon Hallas
Alfred Wainwright wrote “Black Hill is well named”. What would he say today?
These photos were taken between 1976 and 2016, demonstrating the changes Black Hill has undergone, starting with this photo taken on a summer’s day in 1976.


Holme was warm but our 3 children thought the breeze on Black Hill was chilly. We had visited the Holme Peat Pit (beyond the end of Issues Road) and were on our way to the wreck of a crashed Sabre aircraft. As seen in the photo the bare peat was dry and dusty and the streams running off Holme Moss were dark brown.
In the following years we saw test areas where pine branches, to be superseded later by geotextiles, had been spread on the bare peat slopes in attempts to slow the erosion.
Another summer many years later in 2000 we saw the work continue. We sat, with 2 grandchildren, on Holme Moss watching the helicopter transporting flagstones. A path was being laid across the ever widening black morass of the track from Laddow Rocks.
In June 2003, the new flagstone path through the re-vegetated moor made the Saturday morning walk from Crowden easier but our now grown-up children were surprised at the appearance of the cairn built round the trig point. Now revealing its base, the depth of peat lost from Black Hill was clearly visible.

Just six years later in 2009, following the spraying of pelleted seed across the moor, Black Hill was a green lawn. ‘Desecration!’ said a scouting friend; he was more accepting of the change when the moorland grasses later took hold and the vegetation was as before the Industrial Revolution.
Last year from the summit of West Nab, we watched the helicopter spraying its pellets on Wessenden Moor, showing the work goes on.
This June we went with our younger son and his sons to look at the Swordfish plane wreck and then to the trig point at Black Hill, what a contrast!