Shaft of sunlight lighting up the old waggonway between the dark conifer trees

Straight lines and contrasts – photo challenge time

When I saw the themes of two of this week’s photo challenges, it made me remember an interesting industrial archaeology project we worked on a couple of years ago. For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week we are seeking out “straight lines”. For the WordPress Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge we are considering “contrasts”. In the place we were exploring our industrial archaeology we noticed several combined instances of these concepts.

Our local area is full of industrial history as we live on part of the Durham Coalfield. Remnants of old mine shafts, iron workings and networks of old railway lines and waggonways are woven into this peaceful green and rural landscape. It must have been a very different environment a hundred years ago when coal mining here was at its height. The noise, the dust and the smoke have all gone completely. The collieries, old spoil heaps and railway tracks are now gradually assimilating into the landscape. Reclaimed by Mother Nature and grown over with woodland (some natural, some planted), unless you know their story, you don’t really notice them at all when you pass by.

Here’s my selection:

This straight track is part of the old railway line. This railway carried steam locomotives hauling their cargo of coals to the River Tyne. Now it is a peaceful footpath where we watch butterflies and pick blackberries as we look out across the wooded valley.
This straight track is part of the old railway line. This railway carried steam locomotives hauling their cargo of coals to the River Tyne. Now it is a peaceful footpath where we watch butterflies and pick blackberries as we look out across the wooded valley.
Sunlight searching through this steep-sided stream gully provided a stark dark/light contrast from our vantage point on the hillside between some tall, dark conifers.
Sunlight searching through this steep-sided stream gully provided a stark dark/light contrast from our vantage point on the hillside between some tall, dark conifers.
Blocks of moss-covered stone masonry built into the bankside are all that remain of this early 19th century coal mine shaft. The horizontals of the masonry contrast with the verticals of the conifers above.
Blocks of moss-covered stone masonry built into the bankside are all that remain of this early 19th century coal mine shaft. The horizontals of the masonry contrast with the verticals of the conifers above.
A wide, flat, straight pathway through a hillside conifer plantation. This pathway would have carried a wooden waggonway, with horses drawing the truckloads of coal from the mine along to the colliery yard.
A wide, flat, straight pathway through a hillside conifer plantation. This pathway would have been a wooden waggonway, with horses drawing the truckloads of coal from the mine along to the colliery yard.
A shaft of sunlight glances across a woodland floor. A century ago this used to be a noisy, busy colliery yard.
A shaft of sunlight glances across a woodland floor. A century ago this used to be a noisy, busy colliery yard.

Most of these photographs were taken by my son. He loves to seek out interesting patterns in the landscape.

J Peggy Taylor

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9 thoughts on “Straight lines and contrasts – photo challenge time

    1. Yes, in our landscape nature certainly has a way of healing over the scars that industry left behind. In this steep gully the moss grows over everything, like a new skin πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you πŸ™‚ My son’s photographs were taken originally as part of an educational project but I felt they worked well for this week’s photo challenges too!

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