Middle Ground 2
A document, devised since 1466, ‘Mending our Ways, the quality approach to managing upland paths’, drafted by the English, Welsh and Scots indicates worry. Worry about intrusive path work in the uplands, worryabout more remote or wilder locations and how obviously unacceptable, engineered paths are in such areas,concern about deliberately facilitating access, about uniformity of construction of pathways, (sic) e.g. steps. It claims upland path management a failure when work remains a visible scar, when it diminishes the user’s experience of the uplands, and when it fails to control erosion or protect the landscape. It’s a lot to worry about.
I wonder, in time, will we need theme parks constructed to illustrate erosion, or the mark of a footprint in the wild, eager to escape to the blossomy bosom of a darksome burn, given by then we may have packaged everything in civility. One day, pulling a foot free from the murky mire said to have expelled us in the first place, (when we hardly had a leg to stand on) may be no more. The squelchy joy of release only just drowning out the myriad opportunistic minutiae vying in the new holes we leave behind us, and may they make a better job of it than us. Once upon a time when tracking a lost calf on the wilderness that was our farm, I disturbed a clutch of corncrake, frightening the wits out of them. Reclamation (ironic?) cured all that, in one fell extensive swoop. Add in the pesticides and artificial manure and we were done with the mushrooms. Mea culpa. It’s that adjective, extensive, that should have us doe-eyed in its headlights, and after that facilitation, for where she has not facilitated us, nature will yet survive somewhere unpaved, and unabridged.