The Marshes are home to many of London’s boating community, dog walkers, urban foragers, early morning runners, horse riders and keen cyclists. Once combined together these users create an intricate web of unseen paths, hints that they were once there. Desire paths lay scattered across the landscape, blissfully ignoring the preordained designated walking routes of the urban planners.
These spaces call to be explored, intricate webs of unseen paths pull users off the beaten track. Trampled dew soaked grass alludes to the paths of the early morning dog walkers, frosted footsteps mapping the way to the first coffee of the day. Swirls of rainbow petroleum dance across the surface of the River Lea, all that remains of what was once a mooring for a floating home; lingering signs of boats moved on. Shiny metal cans sit crushed lonely on cold benches, reminders of late night conversations and early morning goodbyes. Urban foragers line their pockets with the medicinal plants and fruits that the marshes have to offer; blackberries, elderberries, sloes and cherry plums, a ripe abundance of British seasonal fruits, available for all that pass through.
This expansive area of the city creates a tension of urban and rural meeting. Pockets of protected marshland, wasteland, and forgotten industry nestle up against residential zones, creating an interesting juxtaposition of the man-made and the natural. A wild, quiet and at times forgotten playground for all to enjoy, traces of the synthetic littering the surface of the landscape, slowly swallowed up by the ever shifting verdure of the marshes.
Marshland aims to pay homage to these wild urban spaces, battling against the surrounding concrete jungle they provide a calming playground for urbanites to enjoy. Hints of the man-made scatter the landscape, intricate webs of trodden paths act as tell tale signs that these green spaces are used and loved by many. The marshes act as natural place of solitude and evokers of calm. They are the city’s green enablers, offering a place of escapism and much needed mental clarity from the momentum and lifestyle of the modern city dweller.