Shaking the Tree
Isaac Newton was obviously a patient man, much more patient than I am by nature. He saw an apple falling from a tree and changed the way people looked at the universe.
Iíve always believed that if you want things to happen, youíve got to shake the tree a bit.
This site was created to do just that and so far itís been interesting to see what has fallen out of the branches.
I am writing this following a meeting with Laura Vayro, the ranger currently in charge of Crompton Moor and a couple of other sites as well. Itís not much of a surprise that she was disturbed to find out some of the things that have been happening on the moor and particularly in the woods. The picture here shows a part of the conifer plantation on Whitesides and a gate that was broken down by some of the trail bikers or quad bikers and dumped in the wood.
The rangers are in a difficult position in many ways and certainly cannot please all the users of the moor at the same time. When the site was purchased by the council in 1975 it was in response public outcry about plans to begin quarrying again.
In 1976/1977 much of the moor was landscaped and thousands of trees were planted, but little thought was given to the ongoing management of the site.
Now, as Crompton Moor has matured into a recreation area of interest to many competing user groups, decisions have to be made about the future of the site and how that future can actually be managed effectively.
Dog walkers, ramblers, mountain bikers, falconers, picnickers, bushcrafters, photographers, geocachers, botanists, horse riders, Model aircraft flyers, live role players, bird and wildlife watchers are all people I have seen using the site in a perfectly legal manner.
There are also the off road motorbikers, campers, drug dealers, underage drinkers and vandals who use the area illegally, but who cannot be ignored if lasting solutions are to be found.
As a result of our meeting I am confident that the upper wooded area will receive some extra attention from the rangers and a clean up operation is already in progress as I type this.
As for the future, there are thoughts about setting up a Crompton Moor User Group, with representatives from all the major user groups able to attend and put forward their views.
I have also been contacted by North West Riders who wished to distance themselves from the people building in the Whitesides wood, stating that not all people who use their forum are actually members of their club.
Following my response, NWR have now put a new notice on their web forum asking not just their own members, but also other riders using the tracks to become more active in removing litter from the moor and to not engage in any new building projects.
I have also had a lot of positive encounters with other interested users of Crompton Moor that have convinced me that I am certainly not a lone voice in this particular wilderness.
While none of this can be expected to totally cure the problems on the moor, they are good steps in the right direction.
When I started to shake this particular tree I didnít know what would happen. The one thing I am sure of though is that the more people get involved, the more effect we can have on this place that is so precious to us.
Who cares about Crompton Moor? We do.
Update 10th June 2008
Top marks to the Rangers. I was up in the top wood on Whitesides today and found all the areas photographed above had been cleaned up considerably. No small job.
The ramp construction (for want of a better description) has been removed, as has the gate and the badly cut tree stumps have been properly attended to as well.
While the wood has obviously been damaged, it does now look as if it stands a chance of some recovery and weíll be keeping an eye on the place to see that it does not deteriorate so badly again.
6th June 2008
Contact the Rangers on 0161 620 8202 (Strineside Centre) or 0161 627 2608 (Tandlehill) Other contact details
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