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Sunday, 25 May 2008

Little Swiss.

On the outskirts of Hull, next door to the Humber bridge, is a forest commonly known locally as Little Switzerland. There is a short piece about Little Swiss on this page. As you can see from that last link Little Swiss is part of a national trail walk. Little Swiss is a place of outstanding beauty, it is largely untouched land these days but in earlier times there used to be a quarry there. All that is left of this now is an old black painted mill that was used to crush the chalk from the quarry. Not far from Little Swiss is Hessle foreshore. In fact one can walk from Little Swiss directly to the foreshore itself. Here and there pathways and steps have been laid as well as some protective fencing to, it is hoped, stop people, kids in particular, from falling down some of the steep chalk faced drops.

Also at Little Swiss there are ponds, these are usually dried up during the summer but can be seen in all their spledour during the winter months. Spring time is a particularly splendid time to walk around as everything is in full bloom. My wife and I will take our children there at least once a month throughout the year, though my ability to walk is diminishing evermore with each passing day, I still look forward to walking around and walking around this area in particular. This allows our children to take notice of natures changes during the coming of, during and after each seasonal phase. Of course, being boys, our two elder lads more enjoy the challenges of climbing trees and the slope sides than they do watching nature. Still, time, age and all that will soon see them running around less, assuming we still take these walks by then, they will start to enjoy what an almost unfettered nature walk has to offer. It is one of the few places dog owners are still allowed to take their dogs. For what should be obvious reasons one is expected to keep ones dog on a leash but there are some people who let their dogs roam free. As with everything in life there are the few that destroy the enjoyment of the many. These are the ones who never pick up their dogs muck. However, the vast majority of dog owners do so the fact that dogs are allowed and the added fact that dogs do roam free should not put you off going to Little Swiss.

One thing I have never understood is why our council does not do more in the Little Swiss area. If they did more by way of investment in the area then Little Swiss would soon become the place people would associate with Hull which surely cannot be a bad thing. There are plenty of wide open spaces within it which would lend themselves to, say, an open theme park or perhaps a childrens activity area or some such. Perhaps, open air music displays could be laid on. Not just the rubbish kids listen to today but also classical music. Specialised guided walks could be laid on, run and guided by the council. Walks to show the history surrounding the area and nature walks and so on. As one walks around Little Swiss one can see markers which show the way that various walks should go to get from start to finish but these walks are self servicing in that one gets a walk guide and then decides which walk to take and off you go. These walks are all well and good but the obvious security and safety to the public that a council sanctioned and run guided walk would offer has got to be better. To see what could be done in the Little Swiss area one only has to have driven around Devon and Cornwall to see what could be done with open areas surrounded by trees. Down there they have loads of little theme parks dotted around, and often hidden in the sense that if you did not know it was there you probably would never find it. The possibilities of what could be done are almost endless. But, during my close to 50 years of life on this fragile planet I do not recall ever seeing an advertisement about Little Swiss. In my humble opinion, as one who has enjoyed the beauty of the place for many years, they should be shouting about it to anyone and everyone. It could surely become a major attraction for tourists and local people alike who enjoy life off the beaten track.

However, for this to happen the council would need to spend some money on the place first to ensure that all the relevant health and safety laws that plague modern life are adhered to. And that is the major stumbling block. There is not a council in this country that would speculate to accumulate so, there is really no chance of the council spending money with an eye to the future tourist trade and the simple pleasures it would give to local people all year round. In fact, If anything along these lines where to happen I can almost guarantee they would start charging for entry which would negate the whole thing if they did that.

On a sunny and warm day Little Swiss is the perfect place to have a picnic. Whether you are young or old it does not matter. For the older brethren amongst us there are some lovely walks which do not take you down hundreds of rickety steps. It takes longer to get to the same place but there is more to be seen and enjoyed. For the younger ones, and assuming Mam and Dad are not the type to stifle their kids natural energetic flair, there are chalk faces to climb on. Open areas where parents and kids can play ball games. Long rambling walks to be taken and if you go the right way you could find yourself on the foreshore at Hessle.

In such a short post as these it is impossible to portray the natural beauty of Little Swiss but if you live within a 50-75 mile radius of Hull then it is well worth a couple of hours of your life to get to it and pay the place a visit. If you are planning a visit to Hull, assuming they give you enough time to explore it then Little Swiss is well worth adding to the itinerary. There is a huge car and bus park nearby that is in fact parking for the Humber Bridge viewing folk but right next to the car and bus park is the entrance to Little Swiss itself.

Go on. You owe it to yourself.

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