In the beginning God created….
The mid-day sun hangs low in the sky, bathing the station platform in a soft, autumnal glow. The trains have long gone. The line closed more than 50 years ago. Yet today, the platform is busy, and the station cafe is doing brisk trade. The scene has a holiday air with happy families of all ages, cyclists and walkers, enjoying the sun. We are at Miller’s Dale on the Monsal Trail in the Derbyshire Peaks.
Once this was a hive of industry; express trains to Manchester, a branch line to Buxton; limestone and quicklime for industry, milk for the cities and much more beside. Less than a mile from the station in either direction were once limestone quarries and kilns; noisy, smoking places.
Now there is silence. The tracks have been lifted, the quarries closed, the kilns burned out. Testimony to nature’s innate ability to return when given space, these former quarries are now designated SSSI: home to an impressive array of, often unusual, flora and fauna.
Alongside the former quarries, where once express trains thundered, now walkers and cyclists enjoy breath taking scenery. Sites once scarred by industry have become places of recreation and of re-creation; havens for nature and humans alike, places of beauty and peace. Nature has played her part, but so to have people. This remains a joint effort.
It is to re-creation that my thoughts turn as Mary and I sit on the platform, enjoying our lunch in the warmth of the autumnal sun. With the opening of the Glasgow Climate Change Conference this weekend we are all encouraged to reflect not just on the threat we all face, the damage wrought, but also on the part we can play in the healing of creation.
In the beginning God created. Today I sit on the platform, enjoying the fruits of re-creation. One small example of what can be achieved. Re-creation; as I enjoy my lunch I wonder, what is my part, and what is yours?
Rev Philip Payne The Notice Sheet for 31 October can be found here