Negotiating change is frequently challenging

Scots-pine-and-arableIt is unwise to make sweeping statements and generalisations, but speaking from this little patch of the planet it would appear that negotiating change is frequently challenging. Of course, in any one situation there are multiple factors to be considered, but we must remind ourselves that constant flux is the nature of our existence.

The Suffolk-Norfolk  boundary a gentle, undulating landscape.
The Suffolk-Norfolk boundary a gentle, undulating landscape.

Norfolk is an English county that has no motorways running through it. For a long time the main route from London to Norwich once over the county boundary from Suffolk had multiple stretches of single carriageway. The very last section to be made into a dual carriageway, at a cost of £102 million, is almost completed and is due to be fully open next month. The work has involved widening an old road and cutting through farmland, heath and woodland.

Woodland pushed back.
Woodland pushed back.

It all looks bleak and churned up at the moment and in its newness it is quite a striking form carving through the countryside. There was a familiar landscape, but now we’ve changed it. There used to be a sweep of pine forest and now part of it is a major road. But this stretch of trees (part of Thetford forest) was only planted in the 1920s and 1930s.

Modern farming alongside 20th-century forestry plantings.
Modern farming alongside 20th-century forestry plantings.

The Scots Pine was extensively used as it could tolerate the poor soil and dry climate of this region. Before that the land had been used for centuries for arable farming and grazing animals. And, 4500 years ago this area was primeval woodland consisting of lime, elm, hazel and oak. The first deforestation of this area occurred during the Bronze Age when humans extensively mined the area for flint using deer antler mattocks. Humans and the environment – plus ça change!

Beats digging with deer antlers. Lancaster Earthmoving excavator.
Beats digging with deer antlers.
Lancaster Earthmoving excavator.
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