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
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'.
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.
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.
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.