page contents Country diary 1971: the final conquest of Thames marshland – The News Headline

Country diary 1971: the final conquest of Thames marshland

OkayENT: The previous property map confirmed that the wooded area were divided into 8 parcels. All coppiced, and the limits working down the steep slope from heath to marsh accorded intently with the alignment of the current footpaths. The tree stumps had been gnarled and knotted from the lopping of many centuries. The traditional rabbit warren and orchard had long past, making method for an open grassy sward encompass the rules of the abbey that had as soon as owned the wooded area. Handiest within the final 20 years have the ruined partitions of Lesnes been rescued from the obscurity of time and an overgrowth of shrubs. Beneath the abbey ruins, the flat marshland started. It’s nonetheless criss-crossed with drainage channels and earth banks initiated by means of the priests seven-hundred years in the past. We threaded a hard path alongside the banks thru a small international of silence damaged most effective by means of the occasional duck setting out in nervous flight and a flock of agitated plovers. The previous marsh farm nonetheless proven on my map had long past and the rainy pastures had been overgrown with thorn trees and reeds, the timbered causeway used to be mouldering beneath a dense thicket.

Above the a ways embankment, the ships glided silently by means of at the unseen river. A brief scramble introduced the mighty sweep of the Thames into complete view, chimneys, energy stations, factories, loading wharves emerging from the marshes at the reverse shore. With the solar a purple ball shedding unexpectedly at the back of the city silhouette we seemed again around the darkening marsh to the wooded rim of the hills that marked the previous coastline of the Thames. Beneath them, the intense lighting fixtures of the brand new, concrete international of Thamesmead reminded us that the general conquest of the marsh begun by means of the priests would quickly be a fact and any other oasis of inexperienced calm misplaced for ever.


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