Manning's Pit, Bradiford Valley, photo by Christine

Buttercups and May blossom in Manning's Pit

The field known as Manning's Pit, and the ones beside it that lead towards Tutshill Woods, are loved by almost everyone, including me, in Pilton, Bradiford and the surrounding area. The fields have now been purchased by a presumed developer.

A town is more than houses, it needs green spaces where people can walk and refresh their spirits. We need housing, but the most beautiful parts of our countryside and towns need to be protected, too. This is the most accessible countryside to the North and West of Barnstaple, the one place where you can walk away from traffic noise and enjoy peace and tranquility. These fields are part of our heritage, as important to us as Hampstead Heath and Primrose Hill are to Londoners. If the government relaxed planning laws in London so that those places could be built upon, what an outcry there would be!

 I was one of a group of people who set up The Friends of Manning's Pit group in response to news of the impending sale. I have never known an issue about which so many local people feel both united and passionate. Up till now, I led a quiet kind of life, but now, every time I go out, I meet more people who want to help in our campaign, everywhere I go, people tell me how much Manning's Pit means to them. With almost no time for publicity, we received pledges of nearly 30,000 to support a bid at the Auction. We believe that had we been given more time we could indeed have raised the money to keep Manning's Pit safe for ever.

Manning's Pit means many different things to many different people. It is not just a field, it has a name, and it is part of Pilton's history. It is important to the health of the community, not just physically but mentally too. Personally, I love it because I love to walk in the countryside, I love the fact it is a haven for wildlife, I love the fact that it is peaceful and far from traffic and noise and, as I am an artist, I love it especially for its beauty. I am just one of many artists who have been inspired by these fields. I have been painting Manning's Pit for 18 years now and some of my Manning's Pit paintings can be found on my website,