On my recent walks I have been striving to pay attention to the variety of wildflowers on roadsides and in hedges, and have come to particularly admire plants that grow on manmade structures.
Whilst studying the variety of ferns, hart’s tongue and mosses on the railway bridge over Factory Lane in Penwortham a message entered my mind, this is a bridge grotto. This confirmed my intuition that rich vegetation is an indicator that a place is inspirited.
When I shared this insight and the photograph above with my friend, Peter Dillon, he spotted the figure of a lady outlined in water on the right hand side. If you look closer you will see she has a headress of broad leaved willowherb.
When I revisited the bridge I saw her outline was still there, and on the left spotted what might be seen as a male figure with grassy hair and beard, stained in sandy water with a more tribal look about him. I interpreted them to be ‘guardians’ of this place.
My curiosity was piqued. Now every time I pass or go under a bridge I question whether it is a bridge grotto. So far I have only come across one other possible candidate. This is the railway bridge near the Continental Pub. Interestingly on the Preston side it joins Avenham Park close to an area actually referred to as a grotto.
I’m not sure what it means for a bridge to be a grotto yet, or what it is that makes one bridge a grotto another not. Whilst vegtation and running water can be signals, a positive reply from the place itself seems more important.