The Peak District has inspired and informed poets for decades. Two of today's poets most inspired by the brooding fells, Jo Bell and Tony Williams join forces this Saturday afternoon to lead an inspiration-gathering walk and to share their poetry and encourage participants to gather material and share theirs. Williams's latest collection The Midlands includes many pieces inspired by the region. Williams and Bell have selected poems to share along the route, which aims to gather ideas and images for informal writing and poem-sharing at the end of the walk. See What's On for more details.
Today is Hen Harrier Day. Much is made of the so-called glorious twelfth, the start of the grouse-shooting season. People can make their own minds up about the self-evident fact that if you want to eat grouse, grouse have to die. But this year Hen Harrier Day, two days before the start of the grouse season, has been convened to celebrate and mourn the beautiful hen harrier, the legally protected bird of prey that also has to die to bring grouse to your table, and as a result is almost extinct in England.
Hen harrier day is marked by four major events and one minor one. At 10 am there will be a thunderclap (I added my tweet but don’t ask me to explain how it works) and throughout the day people will be gathering at three beautiful locations: South Tyne Trail at Lambley near Haltwhistle to create and assemble a ‘selfie trail’, the Upper Derwent Valley, Derbyshire, but this is now fully subscribed, and the Forest of Bowland, Dunsop Bridge, Lancashire. More details here.
The minor event is me posting the score to Skydancer off to the London Contemporary Chamber Orchestra who give its premiere in October (see What’s On). It’s a short piece that tries to capture the bleak landscape of our heather moorlands and the bouncing, dancing flight of a pair of skydancers – the other name for hen harriers. That’s also the name of an RSPB project to raise awareness of their plight and highlight the public support this species enjoys, even in grouse-shooting hotspots where a tiny minority threatens the future of this symbol of the British uplands.
Hen Harrier Day sees us launch an occasional series of features and blogs linking uplands, rivers, and sea, that will run through August, September and October.
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editor Laurence Rose
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