As blots on the landscape go, there are surely many that are far worse. But as a colleague and I paused briefly in a gateway on the ridge of land that separates Dartmoor to the north from the South Hams coast to the south, we both stopped in our tracks.
We were gazing on a fabulous view, especially on a cool, clear day in October. The line of hills that make up the southern edge of the moor were cloaked in bracken turning that deep autumnal brown. The patchwork of fields below shone bright green and, here and there houses, farms and hamlets gave human scale and interest to the scene.
"But look at that!", my companion cried as we both focus
sed in on the gyrating blades of a wind turbine that has been plonked down in the middle distance, on the edge of the farmland backed by the moorland ridge. Movement always catches the eye and the spinning blades of this bright white machine suddenly became the main object of our attention.
This is, surely, one of the finest views in South Devon thanks in large part to the height of the ridge from which it can be enjoyed. Turn one way and the English Channel glints in the distance, the sharp line of Bolt Head where it meets the sea at the mouth of the Kingsbridge estuary, clearly visible. Turn the other and the rich Devon farmland, contrasting with the bleaker moor stands out.
Now that view north has been ever-so-slightly diminished by a turbine. "Well done, planners," cursed my colleague.