Friday, 30 January 2009


I have to be allowed to divert from birds just this once as I came across the artwork in the pic at Cockersands on Wednesday, proof - even from a distance when I first saw it through the fog - that Richard Shilling had been here since my last visit and created yet another stunning piece of art for everyone to admire and enjoy before the combination of wind and sea reduces it to a pile. This is the man I discovered had performed his land art creations on Clougha and it is this area which brings me to the diversion from birds.

Richard has been instructed by 'The Estate' to dismantle his artwork on Clougha and never to create/erect any more such pieces in this area again. The support Richard has received from all over the world on websites like 'Flickr' has overwhelmed him and understandably so, I myself heard of this order in disbelief and have passed on my views to him which will leave him in no doubt about them.

When I started this blog I made the comment which read something like 'it would steer clear of controversy and politics' and I remain adamant that this will be the case. If I'm going to call a blog 'Birds2blog' and be given a link on websites like LDBWS and Fylde Bird Club by their respective webmasters then the least I can do is stick to birds.

So I make no other comment and go down no other roads - of which there are many I could go down - regarding this quite unbelievable attitude to one man who not only has the creative mind to erect such splendid art in stone but does it in an unobtrusive way for anyone and everyone who visit places like Clougha, to admire the beauty the place has to offer and now also has - or did have - the added pleasure of Richards amazing talent's on view.

I support Richard 100% in what he did here - and still does elsewhere - and conclude with two final comments. It is rather unfortunate that I find myself with just one small regret here......what a great pity he didn't ask permission to do it, but who would have thought about that. Then again.....if he'd have visited Clougha often and regularly and left behind him empty lager cans, crisp bags, and chocolate wrappings, he'd have got away with that forever more.
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Anonymous said...

How can someone be "ordered" to remove a glorified cairn presumably made from materials gathered within the immediate vicinity? Odd. The ones on the shore are actually in an extremely minute fashion possibly more contentious e.g. if there was a mega-rare littoral beastie in this narrow zone of specialised habitat........and there is exactly that c/f any habitat modification, however 'trivial', on the SM18 saltmarsh on the Middleton side of the Lune Estuary - Belted Beauty Moth

Peet Woodruff said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pete Woodruff said...

Bad news......

Your anonymity - and why did you need it anyway - didn't fool me and to make matters worse your comment now needs an interpreter to translate to English.

Anonymous said...

I suggest you read your e-mail which explained the anonymity. I sent the e-mail immediately after the posting on here precisely to avoid the sort of response you have offered. I have a google password but cant remember which one it is & therefore it was easier to post as anonymous.

I'm obviously in complete agreement with the sentiments of your posting so I dont understand your response. Read the e-mail!

As regards not understanding the language, we all have different styles and vocabulary. I would have thought the language used was fine for an informed audience with an interest in the environment. If anyone does want further explanation of e.g. the status of Belted Beauty, it is really simple = Google it! I would rather this than use "dumbed down" language which can be patronising, but as I said we all have our own styles.

You also haven't answered why someone can be "ordered" to remove a cairn made from immediately surrounding material - I really sincerely dont understand this and this was the main point of the posting!

Richard Shilling said...

Let me try again. My first lengthy reply didn't save!

I will try and answer your question as I am the person concerned in all this. Although everything you may want to know is here:-

I had assumed that the land at Birk Bank belonged to United Utilities/NW Water (because of the Thirlmere stuff running through there) and tried to talk to them about permission but couldn't get any sense out of them. It was the rangers that told me that it was actually owned by the Abbeystead Estate. I had written to them about another location that I wanted to build something on (by the Wyre 10 yards from a footpath) but hadn't heard anything back. So I wrote a follow up letter apologising for not seeking permission from them and explaining the error I had made and asked them to grant me permission retrospectively. Well obviously they said "no" and insisted I did no more and dismantled what I had made.
They hadn't actually seen the sculptures but had "heard" of them. I would expect that they weren't too keen hearing about them without knowing what was going on. That's understandable.

They also have their own Andy Goldsworthy sculpture further up the fell which was completed before the CRoW act came into force and as such I suspect that it was built for the private pleasure of the land owner and his guests. They specifcally said that my scupltures detracted from the Goldsworthy. So specifically having sought permission and not being given it I have no choice (based on my own principles) to remove them whether I think they are right or not.

Pete: they made it quite clear to me that had I asked permission before I built anything then they would not have granted it.

Anyway it is their land and within the rules of the CRoW act they can permit or not permit any activity they want outside of walking.

Thanks for the info on the belted moth. My research shows that it is a moss/duneland habitat that they need. Although there is some of this habitat near to the cairn, I took nothing from there nor disturbed it in any way. The stones were gathered from the detritus of the sea wall where heavy erosion had taken place and large gaps had been filled in with concrete. Those have a many magnitude higher impact that what I have done at that location. However thanks for the information I will bear it in mind in the future and will careful to not set foot in that habitat.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your response - most interesting Trying to put myself in their shoes, could they quite wrongly be associating your sculptures with the possibility of them attracting dancing wiccans and the like i.e. a mysterious spiritual 'role'? They are hardly going to be the sort of people who comprehend or financially support the Turner prize!

Offer to construct their shooting butts?

Using the littoral zone is a really difficult one. It is the (series of) habitat(s) which has been hammered the most due to human activity, especially where sand and shingle are involved. The Birkdale Green Beach and the associated flora/fauna gives a good example of what we were missing until action was taken. One of the main problems, of course, is wave-formed pebble/shingle removal for gardens etc as seen regularly at Cockersands and the likes of Heysham Red Nab

Thanks once again and thanks to Pete for providing a "vehicle" for communication with this site. I'll sign of here - feel as though I am trespassing!

Cheers again


Pete Woodruff said...

Thanks for your assistance here Richard, saved me a lot of explanation. If nothing else the support you have received from 'the world' on this issue has overwhelmed me let alone you.

As for 'Pete' as we now learn (I already knew) I have e-mailed him with an unconditional apology having misread his comments. I'm not the first to apologise on those grounds and certainly will not be the last. How many times have we read 'having just read through your post again I realise......'

I told Pete in the e-mail I was going to apologise publicly and here it is.

Many Thanks to the both of you for looking at the blog and to contributing to it

Pete Woodruff said...

By the way.

As a matter of interest the 'Deleted Comment' at the top of this post is mine, it contained a couple of spelling mistakes. Can't have people thinking I'm bottom of the class at English......Mmmmm.

Richard Shilling said...

To Pete: I guess it depends on your view of the landed gentry, aristocracy and private ownership of our upland country. I have always had a dim view, always thought they considered us as peasants and I believe that they do not want the general public on their land. Anything that encourages more traffic is frowned upon. Well that's my view and the logical extension when you have the belief that they want the land to be completely private. It is only legislation that allows us access at all. I don't think it is anything more sinister or mysterious. Although I much prefer your theory to mine! I have other fish to fry now so in way this has been a good thing. I am definitely a half glass full/every cloud has a silver lining kind of person and I am already exploring new opportunities.

As for the moth issue. Is there any advice you can give me? I never take any pebbles from the beach. All I do is move rocks and make them into something between the high tide mark and where everything is green. They don't get moved very far and are rocks that are moved around by the wateer in ay case. I don't want to adversely affect endangered creatures and I am not sure what to do now?!

To Pete W: Thanks for being a gracious host! See - you shouldn't have made a post about something other than birds as you have attracted all these squatters! How are you going to get rid of us?!

Anonymous said...

I wouldnt worry about the moths - they tend to prefer spending the day in the centre of Sea Rush (Juncus maritimus) clumps or sat on the ancient posts which grace Middleton Marsh. They seem to have gradually and quite amazingly adapted during the transition of this area from sand dunes into the SM18 form of saltmarsh. Elsewhere they are on dunes or machair! This is why they took so long to be discovered - noone had any inkling they were resident in this habitat and therefore the two single historical reports from the area were just assumed to be 'strays' I was only invoking a comparison re-moving the stones on Clougha having not the remotest inkling of a threat to any wildlife. As far as I am aware there are no endangered invertebrates which live under stones along our local tidelines so do feel free to carry on with your work. I'll now definitely stop trespassing on Pete's site. All the very best


Pete Woodruff said...


No way do I want to 'get rid' of you.


No trespass laws broken here.


Thanks for the interest please continue on future post's if you can bring yourselves to do so. Positive/negative where necessary.