At the close of last year I decided to set out in search of a disused railway line in the Merseyside area. I had been informed of its existence by a friend some months before and was interested to see how overgrown it could be. The Southport and Cheshire Lines Extension Railway (S&CLER) ran between Aintree and Southport Lord Street from 1884 until Aintree station was closed in 1964. Memories of studying Joel Sternfeld’s beautiful series ‘Walking the High Line’of an abandoned railway walk in America and romanticised visions of me strolling pensively and moodily along the tracks through an aesthetically dilapidated wilderness environment as troubled characters so often do in films filled my mind. In reality, it involved a rather tedious train journey, some climbing through bent fence railings and a fair bit of un-glamourous crawling through scratchy undergrowth.
Seeing what were once operational tracks completely overgrown with brambles and rusting away was quite a sad sight. It was, once again, the remnants of a more industrialised era and reminded me of the crumbling, graffitied warehouses in the Liverpool docks that I had explored previously.
As I was leaving, I saw a kestrel hovering above the grassy wasteland surrounding the tracks and thought of how nature eventually reclaims all human endeavours for the wild.