New works and drawings are beginning as I begin exploring a couple of sites in the Mersey Estuary. I am working with The Cheshire Wildlife Trust to access and walk on a couple of reserves they manage.
Gown Meadows is part of the Trust’s Living Landscape and sits in the shadow of Stanlow refinery. The site is an important location for both birds and aquatic invertebrates so understanding of the ecology of the space is an important consideration when walking on site. It is a site in constant transition and flux its semi-aquatic nature creates a dynamic and an energy. The large open skies host strong winds which carry noise and weather.
This is classic ‘edgeland’ territory, my initial walking took me through what Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts refer to as unwatched wasteland, the fringes where urban space and rural space negotiate and renegotiate their borders.
Before the arrival of Stanlow refinery this site was farmed by the villagers, utilising its cycle of flooding in the winter they were able to catch Eels and other fish. In the dryer summer months the meadows were used for pasture and harvesting hay. Understanding of place enabled local communities to live alongside this land.
Progress redirected the river and built new boundaries which changed the land and its ecology, however the flow of the Rivers are so great that the meadows are still needed as a protective zone for the refinery.