November 2020
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“Pandemic Perspectives”
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The Pylon Field - Liz tours the boundaries, history and botany of a local field
Call it the Wimpey field or the pylon field, one place that became very special in lockdown was the corn field – and its interesting edges - between JG and Currie. Many people, like me, used it for their permitted exercise, pacing its muddy boundaries and watching the wheat grow. A s the winter mud dried and the playpark opened, cyclists and buggy-pushers used its northern edge to cut through for shopping, visiting and access to the best playpark in the area. It’s bounded by Lanark Road West, Muirwood Road, the golf course and Bloomiehall Park and keeps the same shape as the last bit of Curriemuir on the 1797 estate plan (National Archives RHP 546). At that point it was being carved up into five fields by Thomas Craig: one arable and four rough grazing, apportioned to John Gilbert of Enterkin’s Yett, James Watt of Bloomiehall and Claud and John Davidson. A new road (the present Muirwood Road) led onto the ancient “Donkey Track” to Riccarton. A hundred years later it had become one large field. The pylons were erected pre-war and it was designated Green Belt post-war. Now it belongs to Wimpey who threaten every few years to build on it. At the park side of the field there are two hollows which flood every year, possibly ancient retting pools for flax, grown and steeped for the lint mill at Woodhall. Poppies still bloom every year despite the farmers’ best efforts. The field edge provides the makings of a botany field trip! The variety of trees speak of boundary plantings, hawthorns, poplars, larch, elder and pines as well as garden escapes of laburnum and apples. Just now, in September, the wheat has been harvested, brambles and elderberries are being picked for jam and wine, while the ragworts, willowherbs and thistles are all fluffy with seedheads. The birds are gorging themselves.
Helen Boden 01