Edging on

14 Aug

Some further notes of my explorations around the Shrewsbury Edgelands.  Photos can be found in Edgelands Gallery2.

4th April 2008 – Monkmoor

I started off at Underdale Road, an interesting area with some character and precipitous slopes in places down to the River Severn.  A path leads off towards allotments.  There is plenty of corrugated fencing, I am fascinated by its texture and colours.  Part way along there is a strange area of land trapped between houses and allotments.  It has been left completely wild and overgrown – who owns it?  A redundant corrugated fence divides the area in two.  Kids clearly used the area for play and den making.

At the end of Underdale Road there are new houses, and a path leads down into the grassy area of the river flood plain.  I chatted to some young kids, who had to climb over the fence to get to the footpath, alongside a water channel filled with rubbish.

A plastic bag containing dog excrement hung from a tree branch.  A curious and now widespread phenomenon, which some people obviously find amusing.  Who is expected to clear these bags up?  What will archaeologists of the future think?

Young planted trees have fence and barbed wire protection.  All the trees along the riverside were full of plastic bags and shopping baskets.  I saw a heron and various ducks in a wetland area immediately adjacent to the housing estate.  The main Shrewsbury by pass flies over the river at this point.

I followed a long loop of the river back to Monkmoor Road.  It was rural in nature, with cows grazing and birds much more noticeable.  A buzzard hovered over a farmer’s field. 

A curious double fence and barbed wire mark the edge of a golf driving range.

Monkmoor has a noticeably more jaded, but not run down, atmosphere.  There is the smell of the nearby sewage works.  Pockets of litter were piled up in nooks along the road, to be taken over by brambles.

4th September 2008  – Frankwell

A warm humid day.  Within the loop of the Severn, there is this extraordinary “island” of woodland with ruined garage.  Apparently the landowner has deliberately kept the area clear as a “wilderness”, although presumably it is also affected by flooding from time to time.  Recently in February I saw a tent here and talking to an old couple (who were adamant in not letting me take their portrait) they said a man had lost his job and house and lived here for a couple of months until the Council found him a place to rent.

As with other places along the “edge”, it was evident that kids use the area for drinking and smoking, and there was the usual debris, litter and the garage was covered in graffiti.  Nonetheless, this is a beautiful area with views straight out towards the centre of town within touching distance, and also along the river to the agricultural showground.  The old couple regularly walk here and said that a load of concrete and steel beams had been moved only a week ago, so may be the area is being cleared up.

At the back of Gallier’s yard, there is a strange rickety walkway constructed from timber and scaffold tubes, which goes out in a ramshackle fashion over the reeds and marshland. It has quite a sculptural quality.  This area seems even more hidden away and yet almost immediately adjacent to the Frankwell car park.

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