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Open Country
Sat  6.10 - 6.35am
Thurs 1.30 - 2.00pm (rpt)
Local people making their corner of rural Britain unique
This week
Saturday  12 May 2007
Listen to this programme in full
Bluebells in West Wood
The land around Sheffield, which provided a "green lung" for city factory workers was the first unofficial green belt land in the country.  The future of green belt land in England is uncertain with growing pressure to give some of it up for housing.  Helen Mark explores the history of green belt and the legacy of the Sheffield woman who pioneered it in the 1920s.
Sheffield was the first city in the country to preserve the rural landscape surrounding its industrial heart.  Although it did not receive official "green belt" status until later in the 20th century, much of the hills, fields and woodland had already been preserved for the people of Sheffield to escape to from the smog and pollution of early life in the 1920s.

Helen Mark finds out how the presence of green belt around Sheffield was largely down to the work of Ethel Gallimore.  Ethel foresaw the need to protect and preserve land around the city and persuaded businessmen like Alderman Graves to buy up large areas of unspoilt scenery and give it in trust to the peple of Sheffield.

We travel to Blacka Moor - the first bit of land Ethel Gallimore persuaded Graves to buy - and meet Neil Fitzmaurice from the Friends of Blacka Moor

Helen also meets the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) - the organisation which grew out of Ethel Gallimore's work .

And then on to Ecclesall Woods - again, bought for the people of Sheffield by Alderman Graves.  This woodland grew out of the need for specific woods to fuel and power the industries of Sheffield. 

And finally Helen travels up "Hill 60" with Terry HOward from the Sheffield Campaign for Access to Moorland.  Hill 60 was used to train first world war soldiers to make trenches.  The Hill was named after a hill in Ypres which many soldiers died fighting for.
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