Film ID: YFA 6086 Video of CLEGG'S PEOPLE: FROM THE ASHES 1987 Visitor TabsDescription Michael Clegg visits the Lower Don Valley and meets Geoff Cartwright and Keith Clarkson who are both involved in the conservation and revitalisation of this area of Sheffield. The Lower Don Valley is full of derelict ex-industrial sites and mills, but Sheffield has a plan to revitalise Blackburn Meadow, near Tinsley, on the remains of former medieval forests. The film opens with scenes of the Don Valley in Sheffield and the factories which filled the area in the 1970s. Clegg notes the industry needed to be slimmed back and modernized, and the same land is shown; now, clear of many factories and other signs of the steel industry. There is some vegetation on the land, but only types which could handle the polluted environment, and Blackburn Meadows is shown in a panning shot. The hope is to transform this area into the city’s first nature reserve widely open to the public. Now at the office in downtown Attercliffe, Clegg visits Geoff Cartwright. He talks through the plans for the site explaining different aspects of future development with the aid of a model of the site. He stresses how important it is to balance the revitalization of business in the area with the conservation and regeneration of wildlife on the site. The 138 acre redevelopment is scheduled for the following year. Now outside, a factory can be seen in the background. This is part of a medieval hunting park, but it has become a tipping site as the factories have been torn down. They stand near a mountain of plume dust, a by-product of the stainless steel industry. Clegg and Cartwright tour the rest of the site, moving thorough woodlands, to a pond, and onto a bog highlighting the different vegetation and wildlife associated with each part of the site including a species of moss which is usually only found in the Yorkshire Moors. Shots of water flowing, and derelict factory buildings can be seen lining the water’s edge. The water is much cleaner now and this area is part of the Five Weirs Walk. Here the vegetation present is the type which could thrive in a polluted environment. At Blackburn Meadows Sewage Farm, water is flowing through water wheels which aid in treating the water. Different birds are can be seen flying overhead. Here, Clegg meets with Keith Clarkson who has helped with the biological surveys of the Lower Don Valley. The pair walk near the water as Clarkson is interviewed. Clegg and Clarkson now tour the rest of the meadows as Clarkson talks about the regeneration of the area. Most of the land had been levelled and cleared due to the steel industry, but now different plants and animals are returning to the land. The pond they visit is actually the remains of a sewage lagoon made in the early 1900s. There is footage of various wildlife, mostly birds, and close up footage of different species of flowers, bugs, and moths. The pair stops and sits on some rocks where they discuss the 30-40 different species of plants in the vicinity. They also spot a few birds with the aid of binoculars. Finally, Clegg and Clarkson make their way out of the meadows, and the film ends with a long shot taking in the surrounding valley. Credits: Presenter Michael Clegg Camera Dick Dodd Sound Ron Gunn Editor John Leeds Dubbing Mixer Terry Cavagin Production Assistant Eileen Colehan Graphics Paul Peppiate, Tony Sharpe Producer Marylyn Webb Director Fiona Greig Series Editor David Lowen Executive Producer Graham Ironside Copyright Yorkshire Television 1987 Yorkshire Television Production Context All kinds of wildlife forge an existence on land once occupied by Sheffield’s industrial buildings. Michael Clegg explores the lower part of the Don Valley and finds signs of amphibians, rodents, and birds that had all but disappeared from the polluted area. The film also takes care to outline the plans to create a nature reserve on the site that would further encourage wildlife to thrive there. Michael Clegg was a well-known Yorkshire-born naturalist. He was a columnist for the Yorkshire Evening Post, a regular guest on BBC Radio 4’s Natural History program and presented the Yorkshire Television series Clegg’s People throughout the 1980s. Clegg was an avid wildlife campaigner and had a wildflower and hay meadow posthumously named after him in 2004.