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a railway nature trail
Tuesday 10th August 1999

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rosebay willowherb A TRAIN JOURNEY gives a fresh perspective on a familiar landscape. Unlike road travel, you don't feel hemmed in by signs, advertising hoardings and heavy goods vehicles. Instead you're sweeping across open landscapes or dipping into cuttings which, in addition to their wildlife interest, give a glimpse of the underlying rocks.

Between Wakefield and London the GNER travels through time, geologically speaking, leaving the valleys of the Yorkshire coal field then climbing Grantham's Jurassic ridge, before cutting through the chalk of the Chilterns. By the time you get to the London Clay you've travelled through 250 million years of Earth history, an average of two million years a minute.

buddlehiasunflowercommon ragwortteaselsweet pea golden rod On the approach to Kings Cross, the embankments form a long thin wildlife refuge, stretching into the heart of the city. I sketch Buddlehia, Sunflower, Common Ragwort, Teasel and what I think is a kind of Sweet Pea (above). The trackside tangle of garden escapes, weeds and wildflowers also includes Russian Vine and Golden Rod (left).

Mouse in the Metro

mousemouse on the Piccadily Line A BROWN MOUSE glides around like a clockwork toy beneath the tracks of the Piccadilly Line at Kings Cross. It continues as the train thunders along the line, inches away from it.

Richard Bell

Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

E-mail; 'richard@daelnet.co.uk'

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