Some of the coal seams which give Coalville its name come to surface on our estate. They have been mined continually since medieval times; the last pit, New Lount, was sunk in 1927. All the deep mines had closed by about 1980, but they kept on pumping the mine water out for another ten years. When they stopped pumping the water found its way out through the fractured coal seams, and onto our land.

A sloping grass field below the Ferrers Arms pub has been one major outflow for many years, and about an acre is covered in boggy marsh grass. A cow became stuck in it last year and had to be extricated. Now it is proposed to fence the land off and plant it with trees. I have been asked to advise on species. Willow is an obvious choice, also alder and aspen, and maybe hazel. We have a number of basket makers in the area, and I’m wondering if any of them would be interested to take part of it as an osier bed. A stream forms the lower boundary; is there scope to enlarge it and form a pond? And how about some bog plants in that area, – this can be be a real fun exercise. Swamp cypress by the stream-side, – would they be too exotic in this rural spot?

Though the area will probably be fenced this summer, planting will start in the autumn. A public footpath runs just above it, so this piece of ‘carbon capture’ can be watched as it develops.