Daring to Bear Witness: Valley Brook, Cheshire, England

Jane Smith
Valley Brook, running through Alsager, Cheshire (UK)

Story Info

Bearing Witness: Valley Brook


Story & Experience

A small group of us from the local branch of Animal Welfare Party (seven people – five adults and two children – plus three dogs) met at Fanny’s Croft and slowly followed the course of the stream as it runs through our town, Alsager, winding and changing flow and hue as it went. We talked about and looked at some of the abundance of wildlife it still supports, including yellowhammers, foxes (evidenced by the famous oval ‘sunbathing fox’ patches in the grassy banks), badgers (evidenced by silvery hair on the barbed wire), dragonflies, frogs and adders.

The brook passed a few places where it was almost entirely enclosed by barbed wire, and ran next to a railway line at one point and telephone pylons at others. In some places it had a lot of litter, which we picked out of it. Where we couldn’t walk right next to the stream, we followed nearby field paths.



Why this Place?

Valley Brook, running through Alsager, Cheshire (UK)

Valley Brook is the principal stream running through our town, and yet it has been not only neglected but used as a waste dumping ground for decades.

Recently, so many people mourned the loss of part of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. A loss, yes, but it brought home that we don’t always appreciate the even older ‘natural heritage’ assets we have all around us. Valley Brook pre-dates the great medieval cathedrals by millennia.

We felt it needed honouring for the ancient life source that it was and still is.VSE9J8u0RU 2Phz 0AV3yQ

Act of Beauty

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When the brook came to a brand new housing estate, we left small tokens of gratitude and love – a poem, a few polished stones,  some flowers. We also left the blue banner (and collected it on the way back – we’re going to incorporate it into a sewn mini-banner).LMQPjdLjSZOqnH2nZh8fTQ


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