This project implements a futile act of ad hoc conservation. It is a gesture to safeguard the abundant biodiversity that existed in a unique plot of unused urban land in the Totnes town centre earmarked for transformation. Areas of vegetation (diverse weeds) from this inaccessible wasteland were selected and transplanted to an accessible plot of land with the potential for sustained existence. The transplanting took place over one week using a spade, a pair of gloves and bespoke haulage bags.
The eight haulage bags were constructed from materials found on the wasteland site, and modelled on the multiple sections of the land owned by different proprietors.
In the new environment, the transplanted sections were demarcated. Over time the boundaries became less defined; some plants were colonised, others were succeeded by other species.
About the “Globe Cottage” wasteland site:
‘The site comprises an irregular parcel of land located on the western side of Castle Street in the northern part of Totnes town centre, National Grid Reference 27990, 060720. The site is bounded to the north, south and south-west by residential and commercial properties and to the north-west by an area of vegetation and railway line.’ DTS, Raeburn, Geo-Environmental Desk study report, 2005, p. 9
This area is currently inaccessible to the general public and comprises of a series of residual spaces, home to an abundance of wild vegetation, autonomous but intricately interwoven with the potential to hold a different future to that of the built environment. It is planned that this area of land will go through a period of transformation in the coming years; the collection of derelict buildings referred to as the Malt Mill Warehouses and Bridge Court Stores will be developed into two different types of residential property. Similar to many industrial building developments, the current structures will act as shells for the new interiors; some of the original features will remain recognisable. The surrounding green space, growing on and in-between these properties, will no longer exist. The area will be built on, tarmacked over and turned into parking space. Whether we are in agreement or disagreement with the plans for the future of this space, they tell us that the land is assigned to a new amenity value that will not incorporate its current state of existence.