"What vasty thighs outspread to give thee birth,
DIDCOT, thou marvel of the plain?"
Thus Kit Wright begins his Ode to Didcot Power Station, composed in 2005: his step-grandchildren live nearby, and he confesses to finding it rather beautiful. And so it perhaps appears, at least from the safe distance of the Wittenham Clumps. We climbed up to them, from Dorchester, on a grey, mainly sunless Saturday morning.
I had long been interested in exploring the Clumps, as one of them may possibly feature in the background of our family heirloom, the oil painting of "The Bull" bred by my great-great-grandfather Peter Davis. (Enough: I've blogged about this before.) I returned from the walk this weekend, no wiser, but with the thought that I might ask the people at Earth Trust, which owns the Clumps, whether they have any ideas on the subject.
Didcot burns a small amount of biomass (sawdust), but large amounts of oil, natural gas, and in particular coal. So, sorry Kit: I can't get out of my mind that it's amongst the top 10 most polluting power stations in the UK, which means that the cooling towers etc. spoil - rather than enhance - the view for this onlooker.