It was quite a shock to discover last weekend that the landscape within the woods at Lower Sprotborough had been changed out of all recognition. If, when you commenced your walk, you were expecting to find the usual winter landscape of leafless trees and shrubs lining the footpath, you will have been disappointed to find that in parts they have been completely decimated.
It was understood a year or more ago that Yorkshire Wildlife, the contractor appointed to manage the woodlands by Lafarge Aggregates, hoped to prune out some of the trees and reinstate the hedge, but we understood that scheme had fallen by the wayside due to lack of funds. However, we now discover that since the quarry closed, Lafarge has been selling off parts of the land and that the farmer who has rented the fields for many years has now purchased them. Presumably the trees, etc, were included.
It is rumoured that the farmer intends to either fence the land or allow the remnants of trees and bushes to re-grow into a hedge.
The loss of such a swathe of habitat all in one go is quite devastating, but it had been neglected for a long time and, if a hedge is allowed to re-grow, it shouldn't mean a permanent loss. It is sad to lose the archway of trees by the 'leg o' mutton' field, but hopefully it too will recover in time.