David Blackburn

Coming in 2011: A desert that’s closer to home

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You can see it best through the window of a train, as you shuttle at that suburban-safe pace through the outskirts of major cities. A brown-field hinterland that is neither town nor country, occupied nor deserted, arid nor fertile. These are the Edgelands, the subject of Michael Symmonds Roberts and Paul Farley’s critique of what we term ‘wild’.

With romantic attention to place and solitude, Edgelands describes the surreal beauty of disused industrial plants, exhausted mineral pits and landfill sites. First to industrialise and first to fade, Britain possesses the world’s most extensive post-industrial landscape, one which nature is struggling to reclaim. It is an eerie, dilapidated monument to consumption and decline.