I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen;
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.
And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And ‘Thou shalt not’ writ over the door;
So I turned to the Garden of Love
That so many sweet flowers bore.
And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tombstones where flowers should be;
And Priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys & desires.
If you replace ‘Chapel’ with ‘Bullet Factory’ you get the poem that William Blake might have written if he had lived in present-day Alsager. He may well have visited Hall Farm and then explored over the bridge over the railway line:
The large fence is the boundary of the Royal Ordnance Factory at Radway Green, manufacturers of ammunition by appointment to Her Majesty the Queen. Or ‘Her Royal Highness the Queen’ as the BBC announcer called her to great consternation in the letter columns of The Times. Whether this factory actually produces shotgun cartridges for Prince Philip to shoot grouse with, I don’t know. But it certainly does produce ammunition for Her Majesty’s forces to shoot foreigners with. By which I mean, of course, to protect us from imminent attack.
Anyway, while my rebellious side does not extend very far, it did stretch enough to allow me to take this picture:
For some reason this reminded me of this sign seen last year on the way to Audlem:
The bike ride round Radway Green started promisingly but the farm track soon dwindled to a footpath, rideable but bumpy.
I found something disconcerting about this view, with its huge expanse of field unlike most of Cheshire, where thankfully the hedges have survived:
Did we all really subsidise this farmer to rip out the hedges? And are we really going to subsidise him again to put them back in again? And when you look at this picture, do you see a lush and fertile landscape, or an ecological desert?
The circumnavigation of the factory turned into a more difficult ride than I had thought, with some hoiking of bike over stiles. But eventually I emerged on a good farm track that led back to main road via a private bridge over the M6.
This is not a ride that I would recommend, but it would make a nice evening walk in the summer evening light.