“I remember in 1976 it got so hot and dry, the cracks in the ground were so deep we were playing World War One trenches in them…”

At the Bristol Festival of Nature in 2017, Jon Holes remembers playing in 1976 and the huge depth of cracks in the clay as the dry weather affected Dorset. He also recalls the rise of Dutch Elm disease.

John: Me, in 1976, I was living in a little place called Radipole in Dorset, and behind the house it was a change of slope and it was on clay. I was nine years old and I remember it got so hot and dry, the cracks in the ground were so deep, we were playing World War One trenches in them. We were jumping in them and, as a nine year old, it was coming up to chest height and we were running about the cracks in the clay, making games of it and I looked down and I saw a grass snake, about five foot below me, working its way through the crack because it was heading off. That is how dry it was.

The other interesting thing of ’76, for us where we grew up, was we started to see the decline in the elms, that year. They got under stress all the leaves started to go brown with lack of water and that’s when the beetle came in and we started to see Dutch elm disease too. I don’t know if the two are combined but there we are.

Explore

See existing categories

See existing tags