Sunday, 11 March 2018

The Beast From The East

Overnight on Tuesday 27th February and into the morning of Wednesday 28th the promised snow finally hit us.  Reluctant to get the car out and after a busy morning we decided to walk across The Horsefield and through Weelsby Woods to Pennell's Garden Centre for a late lunch.  Squeezing through the railings behind Edge Avenue shops brought us out behind Scartho School and onto the 'Edgeland' between us and Weelsby Woods.

Edgelands are the transitional, liminal areas of space to be found on the boundaries of country and town.  As urban areas spread these are becoming an increasingly important aspect of the twenty-first century world.  The concept of Edgelands was first introduced by Marion Shoard in 2002, to cover the disorganised but often fertile hinterland between planned town and country.  Somehow, she says, we know immediately the meaning of "edgelands". The word evokes zones where overspill housing estates peter out or factories give way to black fields or scrubland (I am a big fan of scrubland - ask my family!); where unkempt areas become home to allotments, mobile-phone masts, sewage works, cooling towers, dens, places of forgetting, dumping and landfill.  Michael Symmons Roberts and Paul Farley wrote an excellent book on Edgelands in 2012 : Edgelands: Journeys Into England's True Wilderness which I read as part of my degree research.  I can highly recommend it.

I have had a long association with our edgeland, officially Gooseman's Field, but which we nickname The Horsefield because of the traveller horses that are tethered out there.  Over the years it has been a place to run, walk and photograph the abundant wildlife especially butterflies.  

On this day, as soon as we were out into the teeth of the strong easterly wind, temperatures became arctic.  The light was intermittently wonderfully dramatic with the trees hedgerows and bleached winter grasses highlighted against the black, lowering snow clouds and then a blizzard would sweep in and the view disappeared in the whiteout.  I was fascinated by the spin-drift whirling dervish-like across the fields.  Weelsby Woods was a hive of activity with children, released by school closures, making the most of the snow  sledging and snowballing.  We were well pleased to reach the warmth of Pennell's and a welcome beef pie. 

With the wind behind us the walk home seemed to go more quickly.  Once back it was good to light the wood burner, settle down with a cup of tea and a book and reflect on an excellent walk and our microadventure.

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