A walk in the edgelands: along the Garston shore

14 thoughts on “A walk in the edgelands: along the Garston shore”

    1. It is lovely – and I’m sure a good part of the loveliness derives from its abandonment. I didn’t make clear – those housing developments that restrict access to the river were 19th century developments – two of the gated ‘park’ developments of upper-middle class villas that were built in the Liverpool suburbs at the time. A guide to Liverpool conservation areas describes them thus: ‘These two adjacent private residential parks were laid out in the early to mid-nineteenth century in the form of a tree-lined grid of roads leading to an elegant riverside promenade. Detached and semi-detached villas were set in large plots of land, and a strong design discipline was applied to boundary walls, building lines, external materials and other details of the development. Very few houses are of the same design, the most attractive being those of the 1840s in Grassendale Park. These are classical in style, with fine iron balconies and beautifully proportioned windows, doors and stucco details.’ (http://www.walkingbook.co.uk/liverpool/)

  1. I really enjpyed the piece and I think that the edgelands term depicts the feeling of apparent abandon and proximate intimacy that you can sense on walks like this one – which in this form, I haven’t undertaken but in another, the one referred to in the ‘growing up’ mention, I certainly have, albeit, a bot north of there, on the Crosby-Freshfield-Formby seafronting domains. That was in the mid- to late ’50’s and the sense described here quite vividly recreates that postwar, less developed, period there. There was still an artillery emplacement (in case Jerry opted to venture into the estuary) on the dunes overlooking the shore, emanating that abandon you saw in the old aerodrome fixtures (of nearly all happy memory but see the death of the ‘birdman’, Leo Valentin at Speke; I was there (at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%C3%A9o_Valentin) . Lovely to read all that stuff and PURE nostalgia as I have been living for the last 45 years in Venezuela. Where the shores are different, as it were. Thank you kindly.

    1. Cheers, John. You’re right – growing up as a kid in the fifties was to absorb edgeland genes, I think. Our school playing field was bordered by a semi-circle of sealed-up bomb shelters and the paths and fields around the village were littered with the remains of a mining industry that had died in the 1930s. Even as a child, there was a mysterious, evocative sadness in the seeing these leftovers from another time, another reality.

  2. Really good post thanks. It’s often these raggedy areas which are better for wildlife, as they are quite messy – and will probably be increasingly important along with peoples gardens as agriculture gets more and more industrialised because of food shortfalls. Round here, lots of old herb rich meadows are being ploughed up and reseeded with rye grass – a green teletubby desert which supports very little life, apart from the dairy cows. I wish it weren’t so and we’re trying to do our bit with a little piece of land. I hadn’t heard of the books, more for the list!

  3. And while I’m here……..since reading your original piece I sought out the coastal park (which I’d never heard of – it’s all of three miles from home!). We went there again this morning at a very low tide, and the mudflats were astonishing – it looked like a lost world under the river. Any more hidden gems, Gerry?

      1. Yes, the Oglet’s one of our standard strolls when we don’t want to go far. Thanks for the other link – fascinating stuff. Offf topic completely, I found out recently that your daughter teaches Sue Ryrie’s grandson! The Liverpool village!

  4. Hi, great piece of writing to describe the type of experience we are looking to create at the Coastal Reserve. This is not meant to be the manicured experience that is Otterspool or Sefton Park, but a bit of wilderness on the shoreline that people in their dozens, not millions can enjoy! We have just finished the final stretch of ‘pathways’ that link Speke Hall with the Reserve so people living in Speke or Garston can access Speke Hall free and enjoy the Reserve by parking in the Trusts car park and walking through the grounds. I hope you enjoy the experience.

  5. As a young boy my dad Anthony Brian Standeven used to play with his mates on and around Garston shore, his wish was when he died his ashes would be spread over his beloved play ground, he passed away on 23/7/2014. As its his birthday tomorrow 9/1/15 we will be granting him his wish, may he rest in peace, you will always be in our thoughts xxx

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