Local people making their corner of rural Britain unique
Saturday 14 July 2007
This week, Richard Uridge is in Cheltenham, where he learns about a mass trespass that predated the famous right to roam protest of Kinder Scout.
In 1902 and 1906, around 2,000 residents from the Cheltenham area invaded Leckhampton Hill. Their grievance? The local quarry owner's decision to close down access to the hill for recreation. This history, unknown to many, is explained to Richard by Julius Marstrand, former chairman of FOLK (Friends of Leckhampton Hill and Charlton Kings Common), a community group that helps manage the area.
People, industry and bird life, have all had to learn to share the hill. Richard walks with geologist Dave Owens from the Gloucestershire Geological Trust, who takes him on a trip back in time millions of years to explain how the limestone got to the area. Industrial archaeologist Dr. Ray Wilson gives the real reason behind the area's most visible monument -- a tower of rock called the Devil's Chimney. Finally, Richard listens to the songs of the numerous birds who make the hill and nearby Charlton Kings Common their home and even gets a chance to glimpse the ellusive yellowhammer.
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