Bringing You the Daily Dispatch

Country diary: The air is rich with post-dawn birdsong | Jennifer Jones
Environment World News

Country diary: The air is rich with post-dawn birdsong | Jennifer Jones

Early on a calm May morning I am in a triangle: an isosceles triangle to be precise, with two equal sides and a shorter base. This is Halewood Park Triangle, south Merseyside: a wedgeland. The Triangle was forged by 19th-century developments in the railways, its base marking the main Liverpool-Manchester line, while the east and west arms were branch lines carrying passengers and freight north to Aintree and Southport. Today those abandoned east and west lines have been replaced by pathways, enclosing mature woodland and linking to the Liverpool Loop Line and the Trans Pennine Trail.

At the southern end, braids of cow parsley border the main eastern track, interrupted by bursts of red campion, cerise commas in a long filigree sentence. Garlic mustard and greater stitchwort embroider the path margins. Soft, subtle scents of wild garlic, bluebells and hawthorn blossom are the essence of spring here.

Bluebells in Halewood Park Triangle.View image in fullscreen

The air is rich with post-dawn birdsong. Fluting blackcap and chiffchaff dominate, with robin, wren and nuthatch providing counterpoint. The soothing sounds of wood pigeon and blackbird add to the ambience. A mallard pair and a moorhen explore The Ducky Pond, marsh marigolds defining its margins. This wedgeland, squeezed by 1960s suburbia, is nature-rich. Here is a place to gather and tell stories. Following the Roots is a project aiming to gather stories of the Triangle and anastomose them with local residents’ memories. The result is a series of plaques on willow, ash, oak, hawthorn, hazel and silver birch, connecting tree species with local history: arboreal storytelling.

Different stories are forged every time I visit – a young man passes me talking on his phone. “I’m in the Triangle, mate, Halewood Triangle. It’s a massive forest.” Not massive, nor strictly speaking a forest, but still it induces awe in his dawn walk. He takes a photo of trees with his phone. One to share with his mate.

Trees, plants and birds evoke inspiration here. Desire lines branching from the main path whisper of explorations; intricately constructed dens are ghosts of children’s woodland adventures. A mainline train rumbles past en route to Manchester, packed with peak-hour travellers unaware of the tales being forged in the Triangle.

Source: theguardian.com