Simon's Blog: Is this work?

I was out in the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on Sunday (sorry Mum I hope you had a great Mother’s day) undertaking a reconnoitre for a charity walk I am doing with the Colchester Mayor and the Chairman of my Advisory Committee. (Details of how to join or sponsor us below).

I always enjoy getting out from behind my desk into one of our nationally protected landscapes, but of course there are so many reminders of my work when I get there. The sound of bees makes me think of our pollinator patches project. The noise of aircraft makes me think of those complicated consultation responses we made to NATS (formerly the National Air Traffic Services). The delightful sound of cascading water reminds me of our river restoration projects (with the Environment Agency). The sound of a glider being winched into the air recalls a controversial planning application. The list appears endless.

What does come through all these thoughts is how much people care about our wonderful landscapes and wildlife contained within them. All the things I thought about on that walk brought back conversations with people that were concerned about conserving and enhancing these delightful protected landscapes. It was at this point I said to myself to stop thinking about this because that was work. As I rounded the next corner I bumped into a farming acquaintance, who was working. I suspect he wasn’t worrying about if he was at work but just making sure that his farm was running smoothly.

It is the farmers’ toil on the land and those people that seek to conserve the natural beauty of the area that will ensure its many special qualities are here for many years to come.

Oh and that walk, if you want to join the Colchester Mayor and the Chairman of the Dedham Vale and Stour Valley Advisory Committee on a charity walk on 22 April then do get in touch at If you would like to sponsor the walkers, who are raising money for 6 local charities then see details at:

First published in the East Anglian Daily Times March 2017

By Cathy Smith on October 20th, 2017

Landscapes for life link image