Square Roots


Some very wintery views here on the wooded flanks of Windmill Hill. Where the trees stop, the land drops off into the massive, now abandoned Shadwell Quarry. Once freight trains from South Wales came chugging into the vicinity to take on cargoes of Wenlock limestone. It was a highly valued resource – mostly used as a flux in iron smelting, but also burned to make fertilizer or ground to produce lime mortar for building; or simply to build with. It’s hard to imagine this place as a hive of heavy industry, but it was – a stinking, dust-palled quarter too. Now the old railway line that runs below the wood is a peaceful footpath, over-arched with ivy-clung ash, hazel and crab apple trees. It’s a good place for pondering on how things are always changing and that it is only our wilful, wishful, often narrow perception that makes us believe that there ever were times when everything was static and predictable.


Shadwell Quarry and an impressive slice of the Silurian sea bed, some 400 million years old, and once located somewhere off East Africa.

sq old railway line100_7810

Tree Squares #6

40 thoughts on “Square Roots

      1. I’m suddenly having a hedgehog version vision of the sunset howling in 101 Dalmations. The call going out from hedgehog to hedgehog, from Winchester to Shropshire – summoning the spiny ones to deal with the mollusc invasion…

    1. They certainly can be. That water in my Shadwell Quarry pic is at least 70 feet deep, and kids think it’s a great place to go jumping off the cliff face after they’ve had a bit to drink. No amount of fencing and security seems to stop them from going there.

  1. ah yes we are easily forget that industry was once everywhere – rather like your Quarry, Ironbridge may be beautiful now but when the bridge was built it must have been terrible!

      1. yikes!! I presumed you had been getting all arty and doing strange photographer stretches. Hope you and the camera were okay

      2. Ah. Kind thoughts, Becky. I wasn’t falling, but was anchoring myself to the fence on a bit of a drop in the ‘path’, hence strange angle.

    1. It would have been awful. The noise from the steam hammers in the riverside works beyond the Severn Warehouse for one. Then all the fumes in a narrow valley.

  2. Love your title, Tish, and this: “… it is only our wilful, wishful, often narrow perception that makes us believe that there ever were times when everything was static and predictable.” Or that they were the “good old days.”

    1. The way things change, Sue. People in Wenlock still remember what it was like to live under a pall of quarry dust – two quarries at our end of the town and several mega-ones along Wenlock Edge. And the place used to shudder with the regular blasting. Now I just complain about speeding aggregates and container trucks going past the house.

      1. Back in the 80s’ they were still blasting in the some of the quarries. As a child in the 60s I remember Wenlock being a rather lugubrious place.

      2. Oh, I never realised that….did you know of a place called Snail Beach? I believe there were miners cottages there….I once tried to find it – that would have been in the late 80s

      3. Not surprised you didn’t find it. It’s a tiny scattered settlement. And yes some miners’ cottages. The mine is a museum now.

      4. The High Street has been much ‘gentrified’ in the last 20 years or so. But melancholy wintery days still stick in my memory, before the cottages were ‘done up’ and the limestone seemed to absorb all the rain.

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