A Pilgrimage to The Good Earth
In honour of Manfred Manns 80th birthday, we took a pilgrimage to find The Good Earth
In 1975 The Manfred Mann band offered a free square foot of 10 acres of land they purchased in the Abergwesyn Valley with every copy of The Good Earth Album. On Manfred’s 80th birthday, John and I took a drive to visit the land and show how saving it from pine forestation, it began a trend to save the ecology. Much of the valley is now owned and protected by the National Trust.
How it all came about
Why a pilgrimage to ‘The Good Earth’? Some time after moving to Llanwrtyd Wells I learned that rock legends, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, owned 10acres of the Abergwesyn Valley,
Four years ago a BBC Wales reporter Geoff Ballinger, came here in search of the land. Along with my hubby and local legend, Gordon Green, they set off search of The Good Earth ; 10 acres to the side of this old ford and farm house , called Llanerchyrfa.
A few weeks ago, out of the blue I had a phone call that brightened my day and lead me on a journey of discovery. That lady was Nina Lubowitz, daughter of Manfred Sepse Lubowitz; AKA Manfred Mann. She found me whilst researching the land and came across my blog post. I was so excited that she reached out.
She was researching the land because, on 21st October, her dad, founder of and keyboardist in The Manfred Mann Band, was to turn 80.
She asked me if I might be able to go and take a picture so she could send it to her dad on his birthday.
John and I did one better, we went off on an adventure and video documented our drive into the Abergwesyn Valley, just a short distance from our beautiful home, and we climbed his mountain and sang him Happy Birthday…
A pilgrimage for an 80th birthday
As we climbed in the car for a rare (half) day off, John and I were reminiscing. Not so many years ago we drove this route at least twice a week, often far more. Our son’s best mate lived on the opposite end of the Pass and it was up to us parents to ferry them back and forth. Fortunately it is one of the most stunningly scenic drives, and possibly hubby’s favourite road of all time.
The Abergwesyn Valley was forged in the ice age and is part of an expanse of land making up the largest area of unspoilt countryside in the whole of the UK. When Manfred Mann bought it, he had no idea where it was; he has, as far as I’m aware, never visited it; and had it not been for him taking an ecological lead, the entire valley would have been turned over to pine forestry. I truly believe that his actions kickstarted or were at least part of an ecological awareness revolution. Thankfully, alongside his 10 acres, a huge part of the valley is owned by the National Trust.
Stunning views – interesting story – and John singing ….
(footage supplied by us but edited by Nina)
A short overview of the ecology issue
Now this post is not a scientific one, I am not a scientist, biologist, ecologist or any other ‘gist’ for that matter; but this little bit is what I do know. I’m sure there is loads of information out there should you wish to research , but this post is about our adventure for Manfred and Nina … so here is all I have to say , it might get you interested in learning more…
Pine forestry creates huge visible scars on the landscape. But more importantly, it is not natural to the landscape. This valley would have been deciduous forest and baron wilderness, supporting a whole different group of plants, animals, birds and fish.
Back in the day, we took very little responsibility for the impact that changing the planting would have on the environment. It wasn’t until years later that we became aware and concerned of its impact. Particularly on the watercourse. The intense farming of pine increased the acidity of the watercourse , and had detrimental effects on fish stock. In order to rectify this a program of liming was introduced.