On a glorious sunny Sunday afternoon, (9 March), composer Lord Michael Berkeley of Knighton, Dr. Stephen Hugh-Jones, Chairman of Stonewall Hill Conservation Group (SHCG), and Clive Payne, footpath secretary of Ramblers Association Powys led a walk across the hills above Knighton in protest against plans for wind turbines at Bowdler Farm and on Stonewall Hill.

The demonstration was a family affair with children and dogs and included six people on horseback. Around 70 people took part including local people, and visitors from as far afield as Newtown, Abermule and Wenlock. Those who could not manage the 6 mile walk prepared a sumptuous tea for the returning walkers who sat outside in the afternoon sun at Cooks House looking across to Offa’s Dyke, before finishing at Norton church.

The aim of the walk was the draw attention to the threat to our priceless local landscape from five giant turbines and to raise money to oppose the proposed 79m turbine at Bowdler Farm. As SHCG Chair Stephen Hugh-Jones commented “The perfect weather and magnificent views over unspoiled countryside across to Offa’s Dyke and the Shropshire AONB underlined just how crazy it would be to sacrifice one of the region’s premier tourist assets for the benefit of three landowners and a business based in Chesterfield. It is the many thousands of people who live locally, visit the borders and walk Offa’s Dyke National Trail, and who love this countryside who will pay the price. It is particularly sad for the village of Norton which could become surrounded by turbines”.

The walk started along the bridleway opposite the turn to Rhos y Meirch and Whitton on the B4355 Knighton – Presteigne road. The group continued from the abrupt end of the bridleway along the popular Llan-wen green lane 66m from the site of Councilor Chris Bevan’s planned single turbine on Llanwen Hill. Several people explained their views to Chris Bevan who just happened to be at the site mending his fences.

After the Spaceguard Centre, the party walked along the remote Stonewall Hill road past the four turbine sites, proposed by Sir Simon Gourlay and Bolsterstone Plc. These 105m turbines would be just inside Herefordshire, towering over the Powys Stonewall Hill road.

The Llan-wen green-lane has been used by riders and walkers as long as any local people can remember. Powys Countryside Services has not yet responded to a request made by Clive Payne with the support of Powys Ramblers in May 2013 for a Definitive Map Modification Order to make it a designated bridleway.

Powys Council will consider the Bowdler Farm turbine on March 20 at 13.00 at the Brecon Beacons National Park Offices, Plas y Fynnon, Cambrian Way, Brecon LD3 7HP. The Powys recommendation will be considered along with all other representations when the final decision is made by the Planning Inspector after his Public Hearing at 10.00hrs. on 14th May at the Media Resource Centre, Oxford Road, Llandrindod Wells, LD1 6AH.

SHCG will put the money raised by the walk towards fees for a landscape consultant to represent them at the hearing.

On the morning of the walk, Douglas Jones, aged 88 of Dutlas, telephoned SHCG to say he was sorry he was not fit enough to manage the walk but wanted to remind everyone about the remarkable Chinese ink paintings of views from Stonewall Hill by Lady Mary Rennel which are one of the Welsh National Treasures in the National Library at Aberystwyth. He wanted to tell us all that Wartime Britain was covered in posters saying “Fight for Your Countryside” and he did not understand how had our beautiful countryside had become so devalued.

We still urgently need contributions to pay our landscape consultant. Please do all you can to help. contact Dr Stephen Hugh-Jones on sh116@cam.ac.uk or 01544 260839.

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