Thursday, 7 July 2011

Latest news - poisonous hemlock seen in Burwell Fen

I was alerted that hemlock, a poisonous plant, is particularly prevalent in Burwell Fen this year. So I went to have a look.

The National Trust controls much of Burwell Fen in further pursuance of its so-called 'Wicken Vision.' I went as far down Newnham Drove as I dared go. The sight (pictured above) was shocking. Not only was there a lot of hemlock but there was also the usual National Trust jungle of other weeds, too.

This is all on and near land that has grown good crops in the past. Whilst I have supported the original Wicken Fen Nature Reserve, there must be doubts about its being extended as far as the A14 and Cambridge. Thousands more acres of fine food-growing Fen peat land are set to become an unkempt jungle of weeds and waste.

Quite frankly, I'd prefer to see less hemlock and more beetroot, carrots, leeks, potatoes, sugar beet and wheat, all crops that grow well and look good in our Fens.

And I'd also prefer to see less ragwort around, too. Here is another of my pictures, this of ragwort flourishing on National Trust land near Reach. Ragwort is a toxic plant. Fortunately, the cattle in the background haven't yet touched the ragwort in the foreground.

Some of the old Fen 'boys' who cared for the Fen farms in earlier days would have a fit if they could see this and some of the younger Fen 'boys' who care for the fine Fen farms nowadays are having collective fits.
We're going to win this one sooner than some think, though. The ghosts of the old Fen 'boys' will rejoice and the hearts and minds of the younger Fen 'boys' will give thanks that they lived to see the day.
I have commented on the Farmers Guardian website (where the headline was 'UK importing 51pc of food consumed') as follows:
"To be in a position where we are dependent on overseas sources for half of our food needs is shocking. Equally shocking is the loss of arable Fen land to the jungle of water and weeds that is being effected by the National Trust at Wicken in South East Cambridgeshire, Mr Paice's constituency. We must be mad to permit it." 

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