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The sacrilege of slaughtered nature

As today is the first day of the #30DaysWild challenge set by The Wildlife Trusts, I thought I’d publish one of my poems for the first time online. It’s a poem about the wildlife in my village that I’ve come to love over the years. In particular, the nature that is to be found along Peelings Lane, the only country lane still left within the village.


It is an ancient lane, still rich in biodiversity, but under constant threat from a myriad of housing developments planned for the village. I and many others in the village successfully saw off a very inappropriate housing development for the lane back in 2014 when the local planning committee was persuaded by our well-developed arguments to refuse the development In the afterglow of that victory I wrote this poem:

Peelings Lane


Grandiloquent, ancient oaks, their sun-shot arches of greenery

echoing to the peals of evensong

calling vergers to their vespers,

framing my regal peramble down the ancient sunken lane

limned by verdant wildflower verges,

sweet-smelling in the salty sea breeze

rippling tall meadow grasses beyond ancient hedgerows,

riotous with rumbustious bees, birds, butterflies.


If ever I have felt a sense of place,

it is here, now, in this lane

down which the Roman legions marched into Pevensey,

down which the Saxons sought their Sussex shore,

down which the Normans claimed their spoils of war,

down which the smugglers stole along,

down which the drovers and their livestock plodded,

down which I follow forefathers of yore.


T.S.Eliot, speaking of another lane in another time,

trumpeted “History is now and England”.

I say it softly to myself now,

in this lane, in this village, in this, my England,

and I pray, in my own secular way,

“let this ancient byway stay a heritage highway,

free from the menace of brick and mortar,

saved from the sacrilege of slaughtered nature”.


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