Poets Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts collaborated on Edgelands, a book about the areas of nature that are found in and around the abandoned edges of built up areas. Yesterday at Edinburgh International Book Festival, they discussed this book with Stuart Kelly, the literary editor of Scotland on Sunday. The two poets read from the chapter on Water from the book, which talks about how there are many ponds and wetland areas in and around towns that are underappreciated, unnamed and often ignored, that are actually wonderful areas for wildlife and wilderness. There was then a discussion around some of the issues from the book:
Children are much less likely these days to go out by themselves to explore nature or to make dens in wild places. (Did you build dens when you were younger? Do your children? I had a den in my garden, I wasn't allowed out by myself when I was young, my parents were very overprotective.)
The process of searching out the forgotten areas of nature engages the senses and increases our powers of observation and attention.
Forgotten areas of nature are dynamic and ever changing. To some extent they are a barometer of economic situation, in that during economic downtimes more buildings are abandoned and then reclaimed by nature.