Outskirts: Living Life on the Edge of the Green Belt by John Grindrod
Forgotten edgelands, furious battles, suburban mysteries - discover the secret history of our green belts.
Green belts are part of the landscape and psyche of post-war Britain, but have led to conflicts at every level of society - between conservationists and developers, town and country, politicians and people, nimbys and the forces of progress.
Growing up on 'the last road in London' on an estate at the edge of the woods, John Grindrod had a childhood that mirrored these tensions. His family, too, seemed caught between two worlds: his wheelchair-bound mother and soft hearted father had moved from the inner city and had trouble adjusting. His warring brothers struggled too: there was the sporty one who loved the outdoors, and the agoraphobic who hated it. And then there was John, an unremarkable boy on the edge of it all discovering something magical.
In the green belts John discovers strange hidden places, from nuclear bunkers to buried landfill sites, and along the way meets planners, protestors, foresters and residents whose passions for and against the green belt tell a fascinating tale of Britain today.
The first book to tell the story of Britain's green belts, Outskirts is at once a fascinating social history, a stirring evocation of the natural world, and a poignant tale of growing up in a place, and within a family, like no other.