Conwy Edgelands, by Susan Blagden

I took part in ‘Frontiers: Edgelands in North Wales’, a collaborative project between the Royal Photographic Society and North Wales Photographic Association.

Edgelands are transition zones, areas which might not appeal to a traditional perception of beauty but often fulfil vital functions to our society.  This defined the first objective of the project: to photograph the overlooked on the fringes of urbanised areas.

Edgelands are everywhere, and this ties in with the second objective: to photograph in the vicinity where we live and work, photographically explore our immediate surroundings, and thereby keeping the carbon footprint for this photo project as low as possible.

I was intrigued by the project title! I was drawn to this site in Conwy because much of this space has been derelict for years. Before the castle was built there was easy movement between home and sources of food: fish from the rivers Gyffin and Conwy, and fruit from the ancient orchard.  The Cistercians would have lived close to the land and farmed sustainably.

Now the towering, imposing walls create a massive frontier, forcing people to ignore the flow of the river, to literally overlook a very wide variety of plants, insects, and birds as they go about their busy lives. The photographer pays attention to this edge space and shows us what we neglect: the power of nature to be useful long after our human buildings have served their usefulness.