WILD PLACES: Upper Calder Valley, Yorkshire

In November I went up to Hebden Bridge to visit and walk with my friends Rob and Charlie. They have started an artist-led project called Wainsgate Dances at Wainsgate Chapel in Old Town, Hebden Bridge. I’d love to organise a workshop up there so Rob and I walked up onto the hills to see what we could see.

Rob and I talked about diversity, sheep farming, queer ecology and 1m2 species-counting exercises from school science lessons. I also remembered what my friend Petra said to me once with regards to the value of land in different states of naturalness or degradation – “…it’s still the land, the land, the land.” The land around the Upper Calder Valley may have once been pristine forest or at least a lot wilder before the advent of the agricultural revolution, whereas now it is managed for sheep and grouse – but up there it’s very clear: the hills still roll, the birds of prey still hunt, the deer still roam, the insects still live full lives and the weather is always going to weather.

Watch this space…


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