It's 2 centuries now since the Battle of Waterloo which brought the Napoleonic wars to an end and I thought I should do an appropriate blog post to mark the occasion. So here's a photograph of Linmere in Delamere Forest – can you spot the link?
Something I didn't know as a child exploring and playing in the forest, was that originally Delamere Forest was pepper-potted with meres and mosses and peat-bogs. Didn't see much evidence of them as a kid. That's because they were hidden, almost destroyed. Because after the end of the Napoleonic wars, Britain's fleet was seriously depleted. Ships were desperately needed to replaced those which had been lost – and that meant there was a need for timber.
The meres and mosses were drained to provide land upon which to grow oaks for ship-building and local legend in Delamere has it that French prisoners of war were put to the huge task of ditch-digging. The land thus provided in this massive act of eco-vandalism was entirely unsuitable for its intended purpose, and now two centuries later in a truly exciting restoration project those ancient peat-bogs, like Linmere in the photo, are being re-wetted and are coming back to life.
This is the background of my current novel which traces the story of young Judy Whitaker as she tries to decipher Grandfather Solomon's tale of a shadowy foreigner lurking in the forest near his mother's home.