Precious landscape on the brink

Surrey landscape
On Friday, I enjoyed a trip out to Three Farms Meadows with my friend, Tony Antoniou.   The landscape here is special because Surrey is a heavily populated county.  Open spaces like this are rare and ever more under threat.   Three Farms Meadows in Surrey
I cannot hope to convey the joy of stepping through the gate onto this vast, open, empty landscape.  We spent an hour up there, in the company of skylarks, bees and a pair of red kites soaring overhead.Surrey landscapeSadly, Three Farms Meadows is under very real threat.   2,500 new homes are planned for this site.  I understand how desperate the housing situation is in this crowded little country of mine.  But still, I cannot help but dread the loss of this precious place.  The price seems too high.

20 thoughts on “Precious landscape on the brink

  1. I think I feel a wee bit of that same dread as my beach becomes more popular with ever increasing tourists. Yes, it’s progress of sorts and no doubt helps the economy, but it’s hard to lose that peace and solitude once you’ve known it.

    • Yes, change is hard at the best of times. Sadly, it is not simply a case here of the place becoming more crowded. It will disappear altogether under 2500 new houses.

      • I understand that your island is more limited as to space, yet it’s about change as you noted. I’ve certainly seen places here wiped out entirely with subdivisions as yours is about to be. It’s sad either way.

  2. Same is here. Fortunately, though, Texas is much bigger and will take longer to overpopulate. But in Houston, it’s Katy bar the doors, the masses are already here. The area surrounding DirtNKids’ “country” is disappearing fast. The wildlife have no chance at all against us.

    Your scene shots are breathtaking. Skies are perfect, drawing me into the field and onward to the horizon. Reading up on my camera’s settings so I can put my wide-angle 15-55mm to better use! Hopefully, I will be better at this game when we make it up to Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks.

    • Hi Shannon
      Thanks. I hope you get the shots you want – I can’t wait to see them on your blog. Those are National Parks I’d love to visit.
      Yes, it’s tough to know what to do. With a nearly 8 million increase in the population in 10 years (that’s 10 per cent), and we were already overcrowded, it’s difficult to see how local councils can begin to meet their housing targets without destroying the small amount of countryside we have left. I think it is difficult for anyone who doesn’t live here to understand just how tight space is. We were just in Wales and took a walk along the beach and suddenly realised we could look around us for 360 degrees and not see a single house or car! Amazing! The last time that happened to me was in the USA. That just never happens in Surrey. Three Farms Meadows is one of the few places left in the county where one can go to hear skylarks, for instance. I will miss them. 😦 But people need homes. It’s hard for me to object when I have one and others don’t. So sad.

      • Population “control” does, in some ways, seem like a good idea. Having removed ourselves from the immediate effects of nature, we are simply going to outstrip resources and obliterate other species including — eventually, I’m afraid — our very own. Easy to for me to say now, with my four kids, an SUV, and nice house; t’will be hard going backward if it ever comes to that.

        At least all the development in our growing area is pushing the wildlife to my acreage. Those skylarks would be welcomed and cared for here! Tut tut. Chin up. 😀

  3. Pingback: Precious landscape on the brink | Gaia Gazette

  4. Beautiful images. Limited commodities must be judged on their worth and rarity. Once covered by houses that environment is gone forever. Is this the future for the UK? A mass of asphalt covering most of the flat, constructable areas? The outer London area seems so overcrowded to me each time I visit. Amelia

    • It is indeed overcrowded and just getting more so. I bet you really notice it when you come over. I suppose one can overlook it when one lives here (although the daily commute certainly gets longer every year) but every now and then it really strikes home. I have come to love Three Farms Meadows – it’s easily the most open, freely accessible space I know around here and I am going to miss it a lot.

  5. It is an incredibly high price. Considering there are so many empty and derelict properties in towns and cities across the country. Or just purchased houses and buildings, but left empty. Such a shame.

    These photos are stunning, particularly the movement you’ve captured.

    • Thanks, Jaina. Sadly, I suspect that it is inevitable. 😦 I am glad I am not the poor woman who went along to view the plans in Guildford last week and discovered her home is to be compulsorily purchased under the current scheme. What a way to find out!

      • Hi Rachael, Not quite inevitable, If we (GGG) win the local Guildford election in May these plans will be dropped. Thanks so much for your help and your great pictures that show the beauty of what could be lost.

  6. Way too high a price Rachael. A seven and a half million increase in our population in the last 10 years. Thirteen percent in just 10 years and the figures just keep going up. I think we are all going to be saying goodbye to our green spaces and it’s a tragedy. Of course those responsible will never be held to account for ruining a once green and pleasant land.

    • It makes me want to move to the coast. At least then I could look in one direction and not see a house or car. I might see an oil rig or two (!) but even that would be preferable to the hemmed in feeling here. Sigh.

  7. And when they build their subdivision, they will name it The Meadows. Developments, at least hereabouts, always seem to be named for whatever they destroyed in their construction.

  8. Dear Rachael
    Our sincere thanks for allowing us to use one of your beautiful photographs
    in our campaign to Save The Greenbelt.
    You have captured the essence of what we are trying to protect.
    Best Regards
    Garry Walton
    Guildford Greenbelt Group

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