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Caldon Canal

As a new resident to Stoke-on-Trent I am busy trying to find my artistic footing in the post-industrial, urban landscape. I'm more of a suburb girl, but that hasn't stopped me from finding all the little bits of Stoke that attract my camera and I. 

Starting in May 2016, I began photographing the towpaths of the Caldon Canal, specifically the stretch which runs through Hanley. It sees a lot of traffic, canal boats for one, and plenty of bikers and ramblers; people commuting on their everyday trek to work.  

Once the foliage bloomed I was surprised by all the wildlife. Many different species of trees are present: Ash and Alder and Elder and Willow and Oak and Maple. Ferns, wild weeds, and flowering shrubs sprout from cracks in brick and stone walls, abandoned buildings. Bindweed is found creeping up construction site fencing. It really is an amazing ecosystem; complete with goslings and ducklings and Moorhen chicks too. 

I was less surprised, and also less happy about the pollution. There will probably always be rubbish and trash around places where there are masses of people, but that's not to say the canal system could not be cleaned up to some degree. The photographs in this series visually describe my new area and my journeys on the towpaths. I hope they also serve as a reminder that we can always be improving the health of our environment, and thus our health, by adopting a proactive approach to respecting the land, our neighbourhoods and ourselves. 

© Christine Novelli Harding 2020 All Rights Reserved

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