Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Dreaming Fields of Grey Towers Farm - under threat of development

The Dreaming Fields Grey Towers by North East artist Ingrid Sylvestre mixed media North East art for sale Durham artists Ingrid Sylvestre
As regular readers of this blog will know - I love Middlesbrough! And one of it's chief assets is the outstanding countryside right along it's edge. To the south lies the outlying village of Nunthorpe from whence stretches some of the most beautiful hitherto undeveloped landscape one could imagine. Unspoilt views of rolling fields, woods and copses, all with an intangible atmosphere of specialness - a unique 'genius loci'.
North East artist Ingrid Sylvestre Durham artists UK

Fields Grey Towers by North East artist Ingrid Sylvestre mixed media North East art for sale Durham artists Ingrid Sylvestre SOLD
There are many lovely walks around the Nunthorpe area, and one of the best begins (or ends) at Grey Towers Farm Lane. Just off the 'Poole Roundabout' this historic lane is bordered on one side by lush fields and on the other side by Poole Wood. The fields are currently under threat of development - how different would they look if covered in 295 houses!

The photo above shows some of the fields, with their bounding copses and woods. Turning the other way, one looks into Poole Wood, with it's Lake and view across to the historic Grey Towers mansion, once the home of Sir Arthur Dorman. The mansion and it's surrounding lands, now private, were purchased and given 'to the people of Middlesbrough' by an early Middlesbrough mayor, then Alderman Poole, and initially used as a TB sanatorium. Gibson Poole stated that he wanted to preserve from development for all time 'this loveliest of Cleveland's beauty spots'.

Grey Towers by North East artist Ingrid Sylvestre acrylic North East art for sale Durham artists Ingrid Sylvestre
The Lake area is an important wildlife site, it's secluded location making it a haven for all kinds of creatures, including bats. If the housing development was constructed just across the Lane, the surface water drainage of the fields would be affected, probably causing a rise in the level of the Lake, destroying habitats.

At the lower end of the Lane, the trees of Poole Wood and 'Horsejump Wood' almost meet, giving a dramatic frame to the spectacular Cleveland skies. There is a secret feel to this area, an undisturbed loveliness, which is too good to lose. The trees of Poole Wood arch protectively over the Lane, like giant bird's wings, as if the Spirit of Place were defending the land.

Grey Towers Farm Lane by North East artist Ingrid Sylvestre acrylic North East art for sale Durham artists Ingrid Sylvestre
Stepping beyond one is overawed by the majesty of the landscape. Huge mountainous clouds billow above, as sunbeams break through, illuminating a lone tree. In the distance the Cleveland Hills give an undulating backdrop to this breathtaking scene.

Majestic Skies Towers by North East artist Ingrid Sylvestre watercolour North East art for sale Durham artists Ingrid Sylvestre SOLD
This area is one of Middlesbrough's best assets. An intangible unquantifiable asset, of immeasureable worth and irreplaceable value.

Not an asset that should be packaged up into bundles of 'estimated Council Tax receivable for high Band houses', not to be dug up, mutilated and transformed into just another housing development.

To save this lovely area of countryside would show wisdom, discernment and forward thinking - all attributes highly becoming for a lively and inspirational town (city?) like Middlesbrough.

Further information about the proposed housing development can be viewed here at Greater Nunthorpe org, including how to write letters of objection.


Carol said...

Your work is beautiful and conveys the serenity and beauty of the wild. I truly hope you can all stop the development!

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you Carol! There are so many of us who really love this place and care about it's future.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I hope they don't develop that beautiful area. It's so sad when developers clear everything out and build neighborhoods right in the middle. What bugs me even more are the people living in those areas that complain about mountain lions and other wildlife in their yards. Where are these animals supposed to go when their habitat is destroyed?

Phoenix C. said...

It is indeed so sad when this happens, Catherine, and also for the surrounding areas, which are effectively destroyed for much wildlife because of their proximity to housing, even if they are left as strips of 'wild'.

I don't think there are many mountain lions around Nunthorpe though!

(This is one of the things I love about blogging - corresponding with people who have such different wildlife in their vicinity, that I would not even have thought of before!)

RuneE said...

I'm amazed at the quality of your work. It is difficult to discern between drawings and photos. But on the other hand - why should we, as long as you get your message across? And you do.

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you RuneE, I'm honoured that you think so!

Crafty Green Poet said...

what a beautiful series of photos oand paintings, such a lovely place, one that deserves to be protected not lost to development

Phoenix C. said...

Crafty Green Poet, thank you. And yes, once these places are lost to development they are lost forever - too good to lose!

Beatriz said...

beautiful landscape in painting and photography

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you Beatriz, much appreciated!

Lucy said...

I can hardly read the text for enjoying the paintings!


Phoenix C. said...

Thank you Lucy - glad you have enjoyed the paintings!

Diane AZ said...

It would be a shame for such a lovely pristine area to be developed. Your paintings are breathtaking!

Phoenix C. said...

Diane, it would be a great shame, and so unnecessary too. And thank you - it's a breathtaking area!

Anna said...

Oh SM ~ how sad to think that this beautiful area may be swallowed up by buildings :( Are there any community groups, environmental groups etc. campaigning against the proposals? I will be keeping everything crossed that these plans do not come to fruition.

Phoenix C. said...

Anna, yes there are very good groups and individuals campaigning against these proposals. You can read about progress of the campaign on the Greater Nunthorpe org link just below the blogpost. Please do keep everything crossed too!

Bim said...

I add my crossed fingers to all the others!
I love your paintings of the area (and the pic of the generous brew of tea which comes into vision at the end of the post :)

Phoenix C. said...

Thank you Bim!

I never learn when making tea - always leave too little room for the milk! :)