In many kinds of ways we are fortunate to live in South Shropshire. It is a very beautiful part of the country, the landscape which surrounds Cleobury is full of variety, a mixture of woodland and fields, brooks and rivers, rising to the high and spectacular heath of the top of the Clee Hill. It is important not to take these gifts for granted, and probably good sometimes to pause in our daily routines and look and take stock of what we have all around us. Recent reports have told us what we probably already know, that it is very good for our mental well-being to get out into green spaces, to do so reduces stress hormones, blood pressure and anxiety generally.
It is good also to think, in a way that many people cannot because of the nature of where they happen to live, of what our landscape produces. We can’t forget about where food comes from here. And we produce a great deal: lamb, beef, milk, potatoes, arable products and much else. Some of the raw materials that we produce locally are also processed locally as well, amongst other things we have our own beer...
As I write this the future of agriculture in the country and indeed in our part of it is uncertain. There are numbers of factors that are in play, and we can all name them. I feel that one thing that is certain is that it is up to all of us to try and find ways to help and encourage our local economy as much as we can. And among the many reasons that we should do this is to do with the nature of our communities. Unlike in other parts of the country our mixed landscape supports a mixed community. Our villages are not just locations they are varied networks of individuals and families of different kinds. Our community is an opportunity for people to get to know each other, to find good ways of living together, and indeed to help each other. By working together to make the places in which we live better, each of can care for the spiritual landscape of this place, just as we see the material landscape being looked after.