Maer Hills Action Group

The Maer Hills Action Group is campaigning against a proposed major property development in the Maer Hills—an area much loved by Charles Darwin.

Maer Hall was a favourite haunt of Darwin's. It was the home of his uncle, Josiah Wedgwood, and he spent many happy days there in his youth, hunting, shooting and fishing. It was at Maer that Darwin proposed to his future wife, Josiah's daughter, Emma. And it was there that Darwin began his studies on earthworms which were to culminate, many years later, in his final book, The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms.

Writing in his autobiography towards the end of his life, Darwin fondly remembered his days at Maer:

My visits to Maer […] were quite delightful, independently of the autumnal shooting. Life there was perfectly free; the country was very pleasant for walking or riding.

The Maer Hills Action Group makes a strong case that the proposed property development seems speculative in the extreme:

Anyone with half a brain can work out that the Evolution Leisure Village is never going to be built. It's a planning proposal that includes a wind farm, building of 800 houses, a golf course and hotels, a leisure park, sand and gravel extraction - all bundled and dressed up to look green and eco-sexy.

PROBLEM: None of those elements could realistically co-exist with any of the others on the same site.

Planning permission for any one of them would suit the property speculators' purpose: take the profit and run!

That's right, the cheeky property developers have the nerve to call the proposed new development The Evolution Leisure Village. Darwin must be spinning in his grave.

I wish the Maer Hills Action Group the best of luck with their campaign.

Writer and photographer Richard Carter, FCD is the founder of the Friends of Charles Darwin. He lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteFacebookTwitterNewsletterBooks
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