Protecting our Soil

This is a very serious matter indeed but it rarely gets any coverage in the media. The BBC web site article – accessible via the link above – is therefore worth reading.

By allowing the degrading of the quality of our soil we are in effect taking steps to starve ourselves!

The poor link between environmental and planning policy in the UK is also highlighted as it is the case that land is sometimes deliberately degraded to make it more likely to be developed. Having said that here in Sefton Borough our local Labour rulers (via the Borough’s Local Plan) seem quite happy to make even the highest quality of agricultural land available to be concreted over!

Lydiate and Maghull Green Belt – Local historian Pam Russell writes

Pam penned the article below for the Maghull & Lydiate Action Group, an independent environmental campaign team who are fighting for the area’s Green Belt and high grade agricultural land. I asked Pam whether I could publish her thoughts. She agreed and I hope this short but succinct and powerful piece is of value to all those who want to preserve all that is good in the Maghull & Lydiate community.


Pam is second from the left in this photo of Lydiate campaigners and councillors fighting for their Green Belt

Pam is second from the left in this photo of Lydiate campaigners and councillors fighting for their Green Belt

Lydiate and Maghull both appear in the Domesday Book of 1086 and their history goes back even further. Both were settled by the Anglo-Saxons, with some evidence in Maghull of even earlier Celtic field names. Maghull has evidence of the early three-field system of farming and Lydiate of the strip system of the medieval period. The ancient roads in both Maghull and Lydiate prove that Anglo-Saxon farmers were at work here because they follow the pattern of the reversed S-bend, which typifies lanes bordering fields where the plough was the heavy mould-board type drawn by oxen. This type of plough was too heavy and unwieldy to turn corners and the roads followed the field boundaries created by its curves. Examples of such lanes include Deyes Lane and Damfield Lane in Maghull and Lambshear Lane and Moss Lane in Lydiate, as well as Liverpool Road and Southport Road. Under snow, aerial photography shows evidence of early farm buildings.

The reason that both these places have been valued as agricultural communities for over a thousand years is because of the soil type, which is the extremely fertile alluvial Shirdley Hill sand. This has been recognised as the most valuable Grade A agricultural soil in this country. The Anglo-Saxons recognised its worth and settled on it in the inland parishes, leaving the blown sand of the coastal areas e.g. Ainsdale, and the boulder clay of the eastern parishes e.g. Kirkby to the later arrivals, the Norwegian Vikings.

From a historian’s point of view, later history, for instance, during the Second World War, shows the folly of allowing this country to reach a situation where we cannot feed ourselves. Modern concerns about the carbon footprint reinforce the view that as much produce should be produced at home, and even, locally, as possible. Building on traditionally recognised good farmland and disregarding centuries of wisdom and experience is not the way forward.

Pamela Russell M. Phil..
Senior Lecturer, Edge Hill University (retd.)
President, Maghull and Lydiate Local History Society.

And Pam is a published author too – have a look at this link:-