After a long and unforgiving winter it is time to get out into the empty wilderness of the Clun Forest Uplands and let the wind blow the cobwebs away. Taking the narrow country lanes up through the farmland we soon reach the forest and the Rhos Fiddle Nature Reserve.
Rhos Fiddle is a Shropshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve, little more than a mile from the Welsh border. The SWT describes it as one of the quietest places in Shropshire; I would go so far as to say that it is one of the quietest places on earth. There are buzzards, snipe and hares, as well as curlews and other birds which have become rare.
In spite of its name, 'Clun Forest' is actually an ancient, unimproved, upland heathland and bog, marshy and reedy, with many species of plantlife which are becoming ever more rare in this industrialized 'agro-business' world we live in. Botanists come to study mosses and grasses; the whole area is a rare surviving fragment of an almost extinct, precious, natural resource.
Yesterday, we had the many acres of windswept heath to ourselves. It is too early in the year for nesting birds. But for the mewling of a pair of buzzards lazily circling, the bleat of a distant lamb and the sound of the wind, the silence up here is absolute.
The only grazing here is by imported, tough highland cattle which do not damage the balance of the natural world, sheep are allowed in only very rarely and then only on to the outer edges of the land. Trevor Wheeler and his family before him have farmed the land for years; their farm is wholly organic and instead of threatening the environment, Trevor looks after it.