Friday, October 28, 2005

Deliberate decay?



Is Swindon Borough Council deliberately neglecting Coate Farm that houses the Richard Jefferies Museum?

It would appear to be so.

There is no apparent attempt made to look after the house and grounds let alone honour the home and name of this influential and well-respected writer.
With proposed major development on the doorstep, is Swindon Borough Council hoping to sell off the house and grounds for more?
Not over our dead bodies!

1 comment:

Save Coate news said...

COUNTRYMAN November 2005

SAVING JEFFERIES' LANDSCAPE

Patrick Esmonde [August] highlighted the fact that Swindon Borough Council is about to reinforce public perception that the town is full of Philistines. After John Betjeman succeeded in saving Richard Jefferies birthplace, we are fighting to protect the landscape and wildlife that influenced his writing.

In August, Richard Jefferies was the most frequently mentioned great classic writer of British nature in a national newspaper poll. As the father of nature writing, he deserves the accolade. We are delighted because it shows that, 150 years later, this novelist is still well respected nationally if not locally.

Jefferies' regular walks from Coate farmhouse to Liddington Hill on the Downs not only influenced his writing, but he knew every stone, hedge, stream, tree, plant and creature. His famous boys' adventure story Bevis was set around Coate Water, now a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The opening lines of his autobiography The Story of My Heart describe the peace of mind that the walk to Liddington brought him.

Evidently literary landscapes are not protected by Government planning guidance, or that is how Swindon Borough Council interprets the law. If such landscapes were protected, then `Jefferies Land' would be preserved forever as a rural idyll and not turned into a building site.

For more information please see www.savecoate.org.uk

Yours faithfully

Jean Saunders
Save Coate! campaign