A WHILE ago I wrote a piece about the perennial problem of sheep in Marsden.
For those of you unfamiliar with that fine Colne Valley village, I should explain that our woolly friends frequently come into Marsden from the moors looking for food.
They returned this January, wandering through the streets like they owned the place.
One of the Examiner’s ace lensmen got some fine pics of the livestock in the village, and I was all set to write a nice, light-hearted piece about this quirky tale - "A Baaaad Day for Marsden" etc.
But then I spoke to Dorothy Lindley, head of Marsden Enhancement Society, and something of an expert on the village. And she let me know that this was no laughing matter. Dorothy informed me that, not only were the sheep rooting through bins and trampling carefully-maintained gardens, they were also endangering motorists as they crossed Manchester Road.
This point was rammed home to me on Sunday when I took a walk up Pule Hill just outside the village. Getting to Manchester Road, I was surprised to see about half a dozen sheep on the verge, happily crossing the busy arterial route as and when they saw fit.
I saw one car brake sharply to let the livestock cross. To use the well-worn cliché, it’s an accident waiting to happen.
That section of Manchester Road is not in a residential area, meaning drivers go at quite a speed. It’s easy to see how a crash could occur. One motorcyclist I saw on Sunday, who appeared to be going well over the speed limit, would have had no chance had he gone round a bend and suddenly been confronted by a large woolly animal. It would have been fatal to both parties.
There are 36 million sheep in the UK, yet I’m not aware of any other village which has similar problems to Marsden. Why should this be so?
And when is something going to be done about it?