10 APRIL 1936, Page 19

[To the Editor of Tax SPECTATOR.] Sin,—The discussion of the

question of the activities of the Forestry Commission in the Lake District, which took place in the House of Lords on April 1st, bore witness to the strong feeling among all lovers of that favoured area that such activities should be strictly limited, but the speeches from the official side still show a failure to recognise the main point of those who are raising the protest. This is that the Lake District is a unique possession, a place where beauty is concentrated as nowhere else, and which should be preserved for all time as a national playground, where all who shut gates after them and refrain from scattering litter should be able to roam at will and find escape from the ugliness of modern civilisation.

What gives impressiveness to scenery is not mere size, but

comparative size. There are finer mountains and bigger' lakes in Switzerland, or nearer home in Scotland, but they arc nowhere else so compactly crowded together, with the result that they assume a grandeur out of all proportion to their size, while the actual scale enables the pedestrian to explore a marvellous variety of scenery without undue exertion. In this type of miniature landscape. a small blot. is far more disastrous than it would be on an, Alpine slope, and great monotonous, fir plantations would tend to throw the whole effect out of scale, so that what Lord Clinton said in the House of Lords about the " magnificent mass effect" of conifer plantations is ludicrously inappropriate to the Lake District. The creation of such plantations means, removing the scattered natural growth of trees and bushes which at present grace the hill slopes, and when the time comes to cut the timber there is a scene of desolation which takes years to efface. Lord Clinton said it would be quite safe to prophesy that when the time comes for felling the plantations the same people who now object to their creation will object to their being cut down. I agree ; but it makes one despair of the judgement of the Forestry Connnission when an ex-Chairman of that body, speaking in the House of Lords on its behalf, seems to imply that the felling of a wood restores the natural beauty which its plantation has destroyed. The Commissioners assure us that they will have an eye to preserving the beauty of a district, and that they are acting in consultation with other institutions interested in that side • of the question, but their very keenness on their job blinds them to the harm they are doing, just as a hydraulic engineer cannot see a waterfall without wishing to put it into pipes I Some such consultative committee, if its advice is really followed, will be very helpful in the rest of the country, but our plea at the moment is that this limited area of 500 or GOO square miles, which an active walker can traverse. in a day, should be left as it is, and that the western valleys, which are even finer than the better-known central portion, should be clearly included in such a protective scheme. By our incredible folly and supineness we have allowed Mardale. and Haweswater to be desecrated : let us see to it that what. is left is saved for succeeding generations.—Yours faithfully,