Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Industrial Archaeology 2

Following on from yesterday's notes, I spent some time thinking about the actual places in the landscape that had interested me. Often they would be overgrown quarries, tumbled down watermills beside streams, tree covered disused railway lines and other places that would be hidden in the countryside. Here, the relics of our industrial past would lie in ruins with nature taking over and reclaiming such places with new habitats. In farmland it is often places like old quarries that remain uncultivated as a small clump of trees in the middle of a cornfield. Industrial buildings that have fallen into disuse and uneconomical to demolish or renovate become hidden gems deep in woods or beside rivers. It is almost as if there is a message in the fact that natural places that were once at the mercy of industrial activity have been returned to their natural way of being. The force of nature's recolonisation is so strong and seems to be the ultimate intention behind the evolution of the earth.

Although we tend to think of conserving the wildest parts of the countryside as the richest natural habitats, I wonder how many of our truly vibrant ecological sites were once places where human activity radically disturbed the landscape? I would imagine it would be quite a significant proportion. It is almost as if nature thrives more in places where is takes over from mankind's efforts to dominate it.

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