HARD to be exact of course but it looked like about 1500 vehicles and RV's on the site. Good news for local business perhaps. But at £20 entry per adult that could be some £60,000 - surely planting a few replacement trees would not break the bank?
LATEST: Breckland tree consultant to inspect site; that tunnel... gone or not gone?
WILL this be the last generation to enjoy the sight of a tree-crowned Cadders Hill? It could very well be.
For this once and historic hilltop, crowned with beech, is beginning to look very threadbare and at risk.
This winter another tree fell in the gales, its roots undercut and the sandy soil weakened by exposure. And there are no successors.
These magnificent beech trees, now down to about 20 specimens, are around 150 years old judging by their girth - its 30 years per foot of circumference. The trees measure about 3-4 feet in diameter so 9-12 around the bole - so 100 to 150 years or so. In a normal woodland scrub cover would have allowed ‘daughter’ trees to achieve maturity. A visit to Bawdeswell Common will show how.
Walking there again (Feb 5) it occurred to me that the age of the trees is more significant and makes their lonely vigil even more poignant. If the moto cross started in about 1930 then these trees were very young then. And that implies that the underlying cover that might have yielded successor trees was cleared very quickly and, sadly, effectively.
These decades of motorcycling activity has stripped away any cover and left the trees alone in a single tribe, born in about 1900 perhaps. As they fall so the hilltop will become bare.
Soon enough the weakened sandy soil will erode and blow away, leaving the hole hilltop to slip into a sad old age.
Of course this doesn’t suit the Norwich Viking Motor Cycle Club. This year they have been moving soil in a big way to re-build their hills and gullies to meet, no doubt, modern expectations. They have been here a long time - click here.
Now I need to put in a caveat here - I was a biker boy in the 50s and twice rode out on a friend’s Greeves bike to ‘scramble’ as it was then called. Later the more posey moto cross was coined (from the US of A?). And I was just as guilty of taking no heed for the land I so enjoyed defiling.
But the reality is that this hillside matters a lot in the landscape of this most delightful English river valley.
The winsome Wensum carved out this shallow valley in days when the sea level was higher, man’s intrusion and ‘management’ was less and the river spread itself wider and further up the hill sides.
Where Cadders - quite how it got that name, which belongs firmly way north is not clear - developed was a sort of ‘bluff’ of slightly firmer gravel and sand. From Lyng it looks to be a ‘tump’ - a rounded hill standing free of the land around it. But it is not.
In fact the hill is the highest portion of a headland of land protruding north into the valley. It is still connected at the southern side, although moto crossers have cut the depression deeper.
Problem is that what we see from Lyng is a superb example of a tree-crowned hill top. The trees are proportionately tall compared to the low hill and so stand proud, sentinels for the village as it were.
Our own Lyng Heritage Register says this:
T4 Cadder's Hill - Spur of high ground on south flank of Wensum Valley with belt of beech trees (approximately 100 years old) on north west slope. Prominent landscape feature threatened by erosion caused by motorcycle scrambles.
They will not last much longer and I feel privileged to have enjoyed them over the past nine years.
They could be saved. 'Daughter' trees could be allowed to fill the spaces made as they fall noiselessly in the winter gales. But it would mean the end of a much shorter tradition - Motorcycle Scrambling and Moto Cross at Cadders Hill.
A choice whose time has come? Or passed perhaps. - RW
(After a conversation this week I need to stress - I am NOT against the Moto Cross. It has been here a long time, I did it myself as teenager and it brings value to Lyng. But caring for the environment is still necessary - and I have also discussed with someone with knowledge that a re-planting programme need cost no more than a few hundred pounds per year. RW)
A counter view of what goes on at Cadders...
A Lyng on Line visitor emailed with this opposing view:
Hello I've just been reading your posts on lyng online about cadders hill and the trees and the moto cross and was hoping to post a blog on there as some of the things you have said I would like to disagree with a few of them. First would be about the tree which has fallen down, it is actually a bow off one of the trees which do fall of in high winds. Second would be about the sand pit at the back of the hill, my grandmother always told me that the sand pit was dug for sand to build the farm house and stables. And third would be about the moto cross. I believe that if you looked across from cadders hill onto the other hillside you can see where the motor cross was raced in the 1960's to early 70's. As for the tunnel that has been put in and as of today been removed, (see below) I thought it was a good idea as it would give more access for parents with small children and any disabled people that come to watch the motor cross to cross the track for a different view as other viewing can get crowded, and another view on the tunnel could be a health and safety thing as when each race is over there are tractor Levelling the track and a young child could quite easily run onto the track, as I grew up in the village and the village is and always will be home I have seen that over the years the motor cross has changed, but it always brings people into the village and then they spend money which then helps the few business that are in the village. The last thing is the photos that have been taken are very clear but how can get such a good picture from the top of the hill when you shouldn't be up there as the public footpath goes around the hill and not over it, would that not be trespassing.
Mr j Atterwill
(Editor's note: In fact the structure and overpass track remain today (4/04) but appear to be de-commissioned.)
APPARENTLY the spectator tunnel was removed this week. 05-14 - ramp in use but tunnel appeared to be fenced off.
BELOW is where all the soil came from to build the tunnel - a huge hole dug in the hillside. The issue came up at Lyng Parish Council and the landowner, Sheila Bird made it very clear that none of this had happened with her (the landlord chaps!) permission. So Vikings will need to don their steel caps pronto...
The Vikings are very proud of the work they are doing - visit their site HERE