Changing landscape a burning issue in Somerset
Tuesday 26 July 1994
Withies, which are used to weave traditional baskets, are no longer in great demand. So farmers are being given substantial grants for turning withy beds into marshy fields and maintaining them for the sake of migrating birds.
A few lonely voices, however, are asking if it makes sense to destroy one wildlife habitat just to create another.
Julian Temperley, owner of extensive apple orchards near Kingsbury Episcopi, a village on the river Parrett, south of Langport in Somerset, is angry that the subsidies are destroying a landscape he loves.
'Conservationists have decided through no reason known to man to create a wetland habitat,' Mr Temperley said. 'They are creating a new landscape instead of preserving the traditional landscape. It is a barren place of water and marsh created for the sake of a few wading birds. They have no consideration for the animals and birds that live in the withy beds.'
Withy beds have now become some of the most expensive land in Somerset. They sell for high prices because farmers can obtain a grant for grubbing up the willow roots and are then paid pounds 140 an acre for maintaining the wetland.
'This land is being destroyed by the taxpayer and withy-weaving will go with it,' Mr Temperley said. 'The withy beds provide cover for deer and foxes. People think that they are doing good. But they are inflicting on us a landscape that never existed in history.'
Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
Bali nine: Welcome to 'Execution Island' – the Indonesian holiday resort where foreigners are sent to die
How Homer Simpson discovered the Higgs boson over a decade before scientists
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Harrison Ford plane crash: Star Wars actor 'seriously injured' after his vintage light aircraft crash lands in golf course in Los Angeles
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...
£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...
£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...