Our halcyon days out in the unspoilt countryside
Readers may recall a month ago the lovely, story Phil Dews, of Anstey, submitted, describing how, in the 1960s, he used to wander freely in the fields around Leicester.
Now, Mr Dews follows his original story with this thoughtful piece, describing how Leicester's urban sprawl has slowly swallowed up part of the city's green fringe.
I thought I'd better feature Mr Dews' rustic piece before the leaves on the trees have all fallen.
"Back in the 1960s, the Mowmacre Hill Estate was an area of green spaces from Mowmacre Hill to Thurcaston, Birstall, Anstey, right through to Bradgate Park. There was no Beaumont Leys estate and, where the Tesco supermarket now stands, was a lovely old farm, owned by the Chantrell family," explains Mr Dews.
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"Also, in the area of Beaumont Leys shopping centre, was a sewage farm and plant and a farm with stables where the plough horses were kept that worked the surrounding land.
"There were many wild flowers back then in the early '60s and lots of butterflies and dragonflies.
"We used to lie on our backs, my friends and myself, in a meadow and look up at the hovering skylarks above us, singing for what seemed ages in a blue and sun-filled sky, with bees buzzing in the wild flowers around us.
"Even now, if I hear a skylark singing and the sound of bees buzzing, it takes me back to my childhood days.
"There were many field ponds back then, where we used to look for frogspawn and find waterhen nests near the water's edge. There were many spinneys and woods, which we used to explore, with an abundance of trees to climb.
"Many a time I received scratched arms and legs climbing an old hawthorn hedge to reach a magpie's nest to look at the eggs inside. I am sorry to say that back then, a lot of kids collected birds' eggs – myself included.
"It's something I now bitterly regret, but that was how it was back then: birds' egg collecting, train spotting, cigarette card collecting, marbles and snobs, all seemed to go hand-in-hand as everyday hobbies."