Shropshire Star

Talking Telford: Deer represent a comforting constant in a land of widening contrasts

Anyone who’s familiar with New Works will have seen a few deer in their time. The tiny, idyllic settlement west of Lawley that grew out of former mining cottages (but never grew much) is surrounded by dense woodland and rolling fields.

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Look closely – deer near New Works

Those fields then link seamlessly to the Ercall and the Wrekin via Limekiln Woods. It’s no wonder it’s a well-trodden walking destination for people of Wellington, Lawley and beyond.

The deer are evidently big fans too - if you’re lucky and eagle-eyed enough while on a walk out that way, chances are good you’ll spot a distant herd of them grazing on one of the windswept fields, or even maybe a single specimen peering from the edge of the woods, with an especially disdainful look for any dogs you might have with you.

On my last trip there, in freezing temperatures last weekend, I was very lucky but not very eagle-eyed: my walking companion who boasts 20/20 vision spotted deer twice and was kind enough to point them out. As someone whose eyesight was never up to much and is seemingly deteriorating as rapidly as I am approaching the wrong side of 30, I wouldn’t have had much of a chance of identifying the fuzzy brown-and-black shapes in the distance as anything other than shrubs by myself.

The second sighting, of a huge herd of the fuzzy shapes in the middle of a field, was from New Works Lane. It’s this sedate, narrow road that provides some of the best vantage points to spot deer in the fields which separate New Works Lane itself and the decidedly much busier road connecting Lawley and Wellington.

These vantage points also hit the observer in the face with a stark visual contrast - between the fields, seemingly untouched for generations (except by hungry deer) and the signs of human development encroaching on them from all sides: there’s Dawley Road, where drivers heading from Lawley down to Wellington open up the throttle at the first sight of the long downhill straight; there’s the traffic lights and the muffled roar of the M54, of people rushing to and from work; and there’s the rows upon rows of red bricks that make up modern Lawley.

I’ve long said that Telford is a land of contrasts - between old and new, between rural and urban, between tradition and innovation - but seeing those contrasts so sharply defined is always illuminating.