Guest Blog from a friend…On walking from inner city to forgotten outskirts

 

This was part of an email sent to me, by my friend Daniel, I asked to repost it, as it made me want to go wandering myself.  He lives in Leeds.  Enjoy.  (The polaroids were taken by myself in his local area several years ago).

…Mainly I have been walking; it seems the right thing to do. It isn’t a trail as such, not according to maps, nor secret as in as far as parts of it are used daily, but mainly only by the march of Stinging Nettels and their old enemy the Dock Leaf, but it feels like both. From google maps point of view it’s a barely noticeable green snake extending 8 miles from the city centre, at times slim to the point of starvation but periodically well fed and swollen mid digestion.  It is as series of passage ways and ginals, barely there twitchals and tracks stolen from the very end of private gardens.  Sometimes it is whole forests, sometimes precarious river banks, mainly it is back alleys and bins. It is hard to say whether it is known, my guess,  it has become underused and so has fallen to secrecy.  I myself crossed it for three years on my way to uni, while hoping  for something fabulous to occur, something marvellous and absurd* and I never noticed it.

So, some days you will find me here.  Maybe it is my apocalypse fetish, but when the time comes, and the roads have become impassable with panic, we will slip from the city along this route bound for open countryside and further still the thick forest, we won’t look back over our shoulders, for we have dreamt of the plumes of smoke, the retina burning flashes and the sky an indelible indigo, they are already who we are. We will instead simply move forward.

It is weedy and decrepit and the perfection location to attack and kill someone, but I have lost my fear of this place, no one ever comes here now. Although I’m almost certain a human foot was found somewhere nearby, when I first moved here.

Then there is the waste land masquerading as a nature reserve, on a bend in the river just outside of Leeds. The site of an early power station slowly being reclaimed by little beasties both of foot and root. Strange sets of steps are dug into the earth that lead nowhere, old embankments, embank nothing and in the middle a raised plateau, not quite windswept enough to be unhipster-esque. The last time I was there, a startlingly orange leaf had fallen upon a bleached piece of paper, giving the effect of a bizarre fried egg. Most magically of all however is a tree covered island in the river accessible only by ford, google maps tells me there is a clearing in the middle with lake, locals tell me there are deer living there.

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