Winners of our 2009 writing competition announced!
Every year CPRE Cheshire teams up with Cheshire Life Magazine to give lovers of our county's wonderful landscapes and green spaces a chance to highlight their personal favourite, and what it means to them. This year's winners, chosen by judges Andrew Miller MP, Lord Grey of Codnor and Louise Taylor, Cheshire Life's Editor, have now been announced and are as follows:
Rebecca Smith - Tilston - Winner
Ellen Evers, Tilston - Runner up
Rachel Brown, Chester - Runner up
10-17 years - winner - Sam Young of Tarporley
Under 10 winner - Isabel Thomas of Hale
The winning articles will be appearing in Cheshire Life Magazine and are also available to read on our website (below).
If you love Cheshire's countryside and enjoy writing why not consider entering next year's competition? Download an entry form below. We welcome entries from groups and schools.
Entry form for schools/groups :
Entry form for schools/groups :
Isabel Thomas (under 10 winner) - Tatton Park
One of my favourite places is Tatton Park. I love to run around in the gardens and play in the playground. I like to walk in the parkland and visit the farm. In spring, summer, autumn and winter there is something unique to see and to do. Tatton Park is a very special place. I love the trees, especially the Acers, because their leaves are all different colours in the autumn. Lots of the trees are very old and they are very special because of that. The park is home to lots of animals and birds. I particularly like the deer and seeing them rut is a very special thing.
If something was to threaten Tatton Park I would feel very sad and angry, because there are not many places like it left. I would miss it very much if it were gone. I cannot imagine if something else was there instead of the parkland. Where would all of the birds and wild animals go? We could lose them forever. It would make me really sad if someone was to ruin this place for everyone else. But it is not always a person building that ruins places, there is also climate change and pollution as well. Some of the trees and plants that I like might not be able to grow if the climate gets warmer or if the soil is polluted and then the park would not be the same every again. I really hope that this never happens.
Master Sam Young (10-18 winner) - Delamere Forest
My favourite place in Cheshire has got to be Delamere forest. All the activities you can do there such as go on humongous walks or play on the Go aim obstacle course. Its overall a great place and you can see so many amazing things.
I think Delamere won’t be much different in 20 years. Maybe a few more trees and probably the paths will be a bit more overgrown. Maybe some more play areas for children as well. Apart from that, I don’t think it will be different.
One thing we must keep in the future is the wildlife. It gives everybody pleasure to see an animal living happily in the wild. It’s also essential we keep our plantlife in the county. Another thing we have to keep is our outdoor activities because if we don’t the community will get unhealthy.
Rebecca Smith – over-18 winner - My Special Hill
Bickerton Hill: history, outstanding natural beauty and tranquillity. It has it all, and for me, it is the place I love above all others in Cheshire.
Myriad pathways lead to the top; sandy trails wind steeply up through birch and oak woods, criss-crossing animal scurry-ways weave across the purple-heathered hillside, amid boulders and scrubby whinberry bushes. Finally, the sharp ascent to the summit. But it’s worth it: if only to gaze at the stunning views across the Cheshire Plain, as one stands buffeted by the wind. On a clear day, I see the Dee Estuary to the north, industrial chimneys ablaze to the east, and the Shropshire hills to the south. Ahead, facing west, are the snow- tipped mountains of north Wales. And all around, far below, toy-sized farms and villages roll away to the horizon like a mottled patchwork quilt.
In autumn sunshine, I walk amongst rich hues of pink, gold, and orange foliage, while humans and animals forage for sweet chestnuts, conkers, and acorns. On dank misty days, trees drip silently, all sounds muffled. On a fading winter’s afternoon, I tramp through luminous snow, while the children scramble to reach icicles that hang precariously from rocky outcrops, and to slide on the mini ice rinks formed on peaty pools.
We are so lucky to have all this – and on our doorstep. With our support and care, and that of our children’s, and their children’s, it will remain for future generations to enjoy, for thousands of years to come.
Rachel Brown – over-18 runner-up - Riverside – Saltney to Chester
A rough stretch of frontier land resonates in my heart. No cosy tea-rooms or rolling stretches of lush green pastures here. No glamour. No tourism. This is a wild place, a rum little spot, where England meets Wales.
The Saltney-Chester riverside.
Under the railway bridge with it’s roosting bats. Along the path, thick with twisted hedgerows, birds twittering from their haven, wildflowers of damp and shady places - Wild Arum with it’s bright berries, Nettles inviting the Butterfly. Hawthorns and Elder Trees, heavy with scent, sensual, in Spring. Heavy with berries in autumn. Then out bursts the Riverside!
Always sunny in Summer with carpets of wildflowers and grasses rustling in the breeze. See the river views both ways from the World War 2 Pillbox. Chester and Wales. Open skies with views out to Moel Fammau and surrounding hills. Wales is there. Wales is here! Just a step over the brook.
The stretch of canalised river, tidal and wild, brings in the faint salty muddy tang of estuary water, fast and flowing at high tide, tides known by Fishermen. Lined with remnants of long-gone ship-building industries, wharves and jetties. Reclaimed by nature now. Cyclical. Foxes roam free, rabbits run wild through Silverbirch and Willow - fat with pussy catkins.
Oh but modern warehouses encroach ever nearer with their stark glass and plastic. The threat is here, looming. To lose this last wild piece of land would be a final goodbye to a snatch of countryside on my doorstep.
Ellen Evers - over-18 runner-up - Astbury Mere Country Park
Imagine if you can, walking from Fol Hollow across fields to Astbury with the church spire to guide you. Before Astbury Mere Country Park was crated from the sand quarrying this is what people in Congleton would do. Before the diggers and excavators plunged into the rich sand seams that lay deeply; before the crater emerged; before it was filled to make the Mere.
Today it seems unbelievable that Man has so changed the aspect of the land through the need to acquire mineral wealth. From a grassy hill to an empty valley then a beautiful lake surrounded by trees and wildlife. Man has reformed the land and made it better.
Forget the idea that Man pillages and wrecks the land for his own greed. Not so. Look at the tranquillity, beauty and transformation that lie before us in Astbury Mere. On our doorstep, intriguingly hidden, lies this jewel. Be amazed at what lies before you; believe that you have been transported far from a humble mill town.
Those who live close are privileged to see the Mere in all its glory; from the golden beauty of autumn; the icy majesty of winter leading to the promise of spring and the splendour of summer.
In twenty years few people will even remember the walk over the hill to Astbury. Many will not even realise that the country park is made not be nature but the vision of those who love our Cheshire.