As we write, England has been in ‘lockdown’ for more than a week. It is an extraordinarily testing time and everyone involved with CPRE Kent hopes you are keeping safe and well.
The restrictions on travel that have justifiably and correctly been placed on us all in a bid to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus are doubtless taking their toll, to varying degrees, on people across the county.
Certainly, access to the countryside that we love and cherish has diminished drastically. Sadly, for many, there is quite simply no realistic access to the woods, marshes, downs, beaches and rural highways and byways that we find so uplifting.
However, there is natural beauty around us wherever we are.
We appreciate that might not always be instantly apparent – the countryside is out of reach for many. But look outside. Spring is upon us and soon the annual riot of colour that brings will be exploding into its full glory. You will see (and hear) birds. Butterflies and bees are on the wing. You might have foxes or hedgehogs visiting your garden. The list is endless.
Hopefully, there is green space near enough for you to visit. That public park you once took for granted has never meant more!
And, as we take the daily exercise that we are permitted, we will walk down different tracks, paths and roads and discover places on our doorsteps that we didn’t know existed. All of us will get to know where we live just a little better.
We can’t deny, though, that some of our favourite places are effectively out of bounds for the time being. However, those places will still be there when this crisis is over – we will return and surely delight in them more. And CPRE Kent will be here doing all we can to keep them safe.
The spread of Covid-19 is an awful, horrible thing that is bringing personal tragedy to families across the country, but there has never been a better time to take stock of what we hold dear and the things in which we believe.
We all need countryside close by, whether that’s protected landscape in the form of Green Belt or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or simply a collection of farms or stretch of undeveloped land between towns. Or, yes, the local park or green.
That proximity to open space should be a basic right of every citizen in England, whatever their circumstances, whether in city, town, suburb or country.
So we ask you to join us in taking a walk, slipping on the running trainers or hopping on your bike to savour the natural treasures around you while keeping your health and fitness in as fine shape as reasonably possible.
You might also choose to enjoy the lack of planes in the sky or the fewer cars, trucks and lorries around you – our air quality has not been this good in years.
Over the coming weeks, CPRE Kent will be demonstrating a slight change of emphasis. We’re aware the threats to our countryside won’t go away – and we will stay vigilant – but this is a time to celebrate the joys of landscape and nature and to stress their value to every single one of us.
We will do that through our website and via social media. We have plenty of thoughts of our own, but this is an evolving process and we would love to hear your ideas.
Please phone us on 01233 714540, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us via Facebook or Twitter.
In the meantime, please keep safe. This crisis will end and we can all play our part in bringing that about sooner rather than later.
We will leave you with some words from our friends at CPRE Hampshire:
“If you’re able to get out in nature, in a way that keeps you and others around you safe, take some time to appreciate the beautiful things we’re all working to protect.”
Wednesday, April 1, 2020