25th September: Tushingham Walk and Talk
Event report for our harvest ‘walk and talk’.
On 25 September 2022, about 15 Cheshire CPRE members met up with a similar number of local people for a most enjoyable event in rural Cheshire. We were warmly welcomed at St. Chad Parish Church, Tushingham by the local priest in charge – Reverend Veronica Green. This very rural church has experienced small but significant growth in recent years. Veronica explained that the church had already achieved Eco Church Bronze status and was now working towards the Silver award. This is a real sign of the Church’s positive commitment to the environment and has been earned by measures such as tree planting.
After Veronica’s talk we walked in good (if slightly chilly) early autumn weather through two fields to “Old Chad”. This intriguing building (also known as the Chapel of St Chad) is set in deep countryside with no road access, and commands a superb view of the Cheshire plain. It was rebuilt and furnished in the late 17th century and has been little changed since, with its old Flemish bond brickwork, wooden pews, pulpit and other features all surviving in great condition. It formed the main place of worship until the “new” church was built in Victorian times. Of extra interest is the old horse drawn hearse – which is no longer used but is carefully looked after in an outbuilding.
The party then listened to an interesting talk on “Farming Then and Now” by Helen Rutter and her daughter Siobhan. Helen is a Cheshire farmer and member of the Agricultural Chaplaincy team. She referred to farming policies since WW2, for example how farmers had risen to the challenge of increasing food production and UK self- sufficiency. She also covered the dilemmas and choices facing farming and the countryside today, such as how we can enhance nature whilst growing as much of our own food as possible.
Siobhan, aged 24 and recently graduated from Agricultural College, explained the difficulties for young people establishing themselves in farming. In summing up Andrew Needham, vice chair of Cheshire CPRE, spoke about the challenges of Environmental Land Management schemes (ELMs) although it is now unclear in what form the government will continue with these. In conclusion Reverend Veronica led a short but thoughtful Harvest act of worship. We then walked back to the parish church for a delicious buffet lunch provided by the church.
Thanks to Rev. John Whitehead for organising this event and to him and all others mentioned above for making it so interesting and enjoyable.
Jonathan Clarke (Cheshire CPRE Trustee)