There's a secret place where I like to go that's just a few minutes from home by bicycle. It's right on the city edge. The deserted track to go there leaves from the quiet end of the beach. But you have to know it's there because you can't see it from the road or the beach itself. Just now it's bounded by verges of rampant wildflowers where insects buzz and birds flit back and forth. It passes behind the sewage works then skirts the ugly, dirty, litter - strewn mess of an industrial zone and fly tipping hotspot to arrive at the beach. The sandy shores are hidden from the city by the backdrop of warehouses and waste ground. It's not a place anybody would think to go, even if they knew it existed.
Once you pick your way through the additional rubbish that's been washed ashore, there's as many as fifteen seals to see basking on the nearby offshore rocks. Their colour varies from white through mottled greys and browns to black. Maybe not a seal city but a treat nonetheless for a city dweller. As well as the seals, wading birds pick their way along the tide line and cormorants and eider ducks preen on the outflow pipe. The place is strewn with old tires but grasses and wildflowers have grown up through the middles. I think it's this juxtaposition that makes me like the place. Beautiful, wild nature alongside man's dirty industry.