Friday we went over to Paignton to see the state of a mini nature reserve the project set up last year. It was the first time back as they wanted to give the reserve time to settle and do it's own thing. It was a lovely spot of nature in an otherwise tacky town. It's a wetland reserve so there were lots of reeds, bull rush and willow. We spent the morning clearing the paths which had become over grown. We'll be going back over the next few weeks to cut back on certain species like the bull rush and a purple flowering plant (don't know it's name). It's made me think very differently about what 'conservation' is. The name 'conservation' suggests quite simply that it's conserving something. So as humans we're going round and 'conserving' areas to keep them as they are to conserve the species there. However, I believe we're intervening too much these days. As humans we're deciding what we would like there and think should be there instead of nature doing what it does best and surviving on its own. There are areas such as heathland, grassland, moorlands.... which we have decided should remain as they are. However the natural cycle of things would mean that they change. Areas of woodland would get blown down or catch alight to clear and area which would then turn into heathland or grassland then the woodland would slowly encroach again and grow for many years until it falls again. If humans hand't started destroying the natural landscape and instead lived alongside nature and it's cycles then we wouldn't be trying to conserve these small habitats, as if they were stuck in a zoo or museum. Instead we'd be looking at how amazing it was that these areas are constantly changing and nature is always adapting.
The start of this week we traveled over to Somerset for the night to work on revamping the 'Somerset Space Walk'. It's quite an amazing thing to see and experience. It's a to scale of the solar system, the Sun in the middle about 2.5m diameter, the first planet, Mercury, about 100m up the canal and about the size of a ball bearing, then the final planet, Pluto, 11km away. It's hard to get your head around how empty space actually is. On the same scale as the space walk, if you put the next closest star in you'd be putting a football 2/3's of the way round the world! If you try and replicate a scale model of the solar system on a piece of A4 paper it'd be blank, even the sun would be too small to show up. Lots of the plinths that the planets stand on have been vandalised so we have been repainting them and cleaning them up a bit. We have also redesigned the sun to make it look more fiery. It's not quite finished yet but we may go up at some point next week to do the last bits and pieces.
I've added a few photos, of the last few weeks, below.
|Camp: My yurt has it's door open. Chickens in the back ground|
|Platform where we eat our meals|
|View from the gardens looking down the River Dart valley|
|Sharpham House and Vineyard|
|Vineyard: It's English wine and really tasty :-/|
|Night Sky from camp. you can see Cassiopeia in this picture|
|View down the River Dart to Totnes from the estate|
|Sharpham House on a rare sunny day|
|Evening view to Totnes|
|Cow on field (losing inspiration for captions now)|
|Dartmoor ponies on the Estate, one's called Rusty. Can you guess which one?|