One of the joys of having stood down as a councillor is that, this summer, I have been able to take several long walks on Greenham Common. It has allowed me to fully appreciate the beauty of this vast natural resource, which we are blessed to have virtually on our doorstep.
Recently, I was walking along on the Common and the sun was shining through the clouds so that you could see lots of what I now know to "crepuscular" rays. It was a hot late afternoon, there wasn't a soul around, and I had "Let Robeson Sing" by the Manic Street Preachers (a particularly soulful song) playing on my iPod. The thought did cross my mind that 'this is the nearest you get to heaven on earth'.
It has taken me several Greenham Common walks to realise why Greenham Common is so beautiful. In fact, it is very....er....flat. So, unless you look very closely at the flora and fauna, it is relatively unremarkable. But I have now realised that the really beautiful thing about it is the sky. Because the common is so vast and flat, it acts as a wonderful frame for the sky, which completely dominates you as you walk along. It draws your attention to the beauty of the cloud formations and makes you feel awed by them.
I was very chuffed with myself when I got this photo (above). I haven't seen these ponies grazing on the Common very often. And it was great to get them in that position. They are actually standing where the main runway for Greenham Common Airbase used to be - where the vast B-52s used to land. In the background can be seen the disused Cruise missile bunkers.
So, the photo well illustrates the "peace dividend" at Greenham Common. The place still has the odd harsh edge though - below.