6 SEPTEMBER 1946, Page 14

IN every shire committees of naturalists have been meeting over

tht last year and more, and have sent in repoits to the master planners con- cerning the areas they consider most worthy of preservation. Their views not seldom conflict with other interests, and the question arises which interest shall be held superior. A test case is likely to be heard in Parliament. The Devon naturalists consider that by far the most valuable area in their county is Braunton Burrows. It possesses qualities which give their optimum of conditions to rare birds, for example the quail and the merlin, to rare plants and to rare insects. The place, thanks to its surface, its soil and in part to the neighbourhood of the estuary, is sui generis unique, invaluable in -the domain of natural history. No naturalist who has once walked over it with his eyes open can have any doubt of its peculiar value. It is now suffering from

"Twenty-nine distinct chunnations, One sure, if another fails "; for it has been chosen as a permanent arena for joint operations ; tanks and bombs and cannon and mortar together are making certain that no rare bird, flower or insect shall survive. Its fate is likely to be a test case. Is war or peace to be preferred?