Stedsans in the Woods: Permaculture Farm & Retreat Made From Upcycled Materials

Sustainable architecture in Sweden: Stedsans in the Woods permaculture farm and retreat.

(Image: Lendager Group. Stedsans in the Woods permaculture farm)

Set to open later this month, Stedsans in the Woods is a permaculture farm offering a sustainable retreat amid the natural beauty of southern Sweden, plus comfortable accommodation made from upcycled waste materials.

Nestled amid the beautiful forests and lakes of Halland province, the farm lies at the heart of one of Europe’s least populated regions. But despite its seclusion, Stedsans is just four hours from Stockholm and two and a half hours from Copenhagen.

Stedsans in the Woods

(Image: Lendager Group)

Aiming to set “new standards for sustainability”, Stedsans in the Woods is the vision of Mette Helbæk and Flemming Hansen, who spent 15 years managing restaurants together and most recently ran Stedsans ˜sterGRO in Copenhagen, Denmark.

But by 2016 they were seeking their own patch of land away from the big city, and found the perfect place on the shore of Lake Halla, not far from the town of Hyltebruk.

(Image: Lendager Group)

To help bring their vision to life, the pair sought the services of sustainable architects Lendager Group, who designed the building’s around existing materials already present at the site, upcycling waste wood from old barns and glass from abandoned greenhouses.

The goal was “to create a development that exists in harmony with the landscape,” designboom reports. “Treading lightly on the terrain, the design team used rammed earth for the buildings’ inner walls, while external façades use stones and boulders uncovered during the excavation process,” the website added.

(Image: Stedsans in the Woods)

With accommodation to suit all budgets, Stedsans will serve as both a retreat “where wild nature meets beautiful luxurious meals and permaculture farming”, and a “lab for discovering better ways to eat, live and connect with nature”.

From the website: “From the summer of 2017 Stedsans is realising a dream of combining the surroundings of wild nature and a permaculture farm with the luxury of eating a beautiful meal made from the best and freshest ingredients possible, and a comfortable and stylish place to rest by the lake. All this in a living laboratory searching for better ways to live and eat.”

(Image: Stine Christiansen for Stedsans in the Woods)

We’re excited to follow this project as it develops. For more information, be sure to check out the Stedsans website.

Telfer Subway: Sealed Pedestrian Passageway to Abandoned Dalry Road Station

The Telfer Subway beneath Edinburgh's Western Approach Road was built during the mid 19th century by the Caledonian Railway to allow access to Dalry Road station, now closed.

(Image: Urban Ghosts. The Telfer Subway beneath Edinburgh’s Western Approach Road)

For those walking from Dalry to Fountainbridge, in Edinburgh, a popular underpass beneath the Western Approach Road has for decades provided a convenient pedestrian shortcut between Caledonian Crescent and Dundee Street. Many residents of Gorgie-Dalry are familiar with the Telfer Subway, which dates back to the 1840s. But not everyone knows that the brick-lined underpass lies beneath the remnants of a long-abandoned railway station, or that it once gave access – via a now-sealed passageway and steps – to an island platform above.

We’ve featured the remains of Dalry Road station’s Edinburgh-bound platform before, but felt that its sealed access tunnel, which is hidden in plain sight inside the underpass, also deserved a mention. The former entrance to the passageway lies approximately half way along the Telfer Subway, where the Victorian brickwork gives way to a blank wall of concrete (below).

The sealed access passage to disused Dalry Road station's abandoned island platform inside the Telfer Subway underpass in Edinburgh.

(Image: Urban Ghosts. Sealed platform access to Dalry Road station inside Telfer Subway)

Meanwhile, up above, there’s no evidence of the access steps on the remains of the ruined island platform (which also once featured a waiting room). Whether or not the station steps live on, cocooned within the forgotten passageway, is unknown. But it’s likely the platform access was infilled before its entrance in the Telfer Subway was blocked off forever.

1945 image showing Dalry Road station's island platform

(Image: Google Earth. 1945 image showing Dalry Road station’s island platform)

Dalry Road station was built as part of the Caledonian Railway’s North Leith Branch during the mid 19th century. When the station closed in the 1960s, the Telfer Subway was retained as a useful shortcut between Caledonian Crescent and Dundee Street, and has remained popular with pedestrians ever since.

But in 2015 it was reported that the council was considering closing the Telfer Subway – the scene of several assaults and muggings over the years – in favour of a toucan crossing over the Western Approach Road. The proposal proved unpopular with residents who consider the underpass to be an important part of Dalry and Fountainbridge’s local history. Two years on, the Telfer Subway remains open and is monitored by CCTV.

Contemporary aerial photograph of the site once occupied by Dalry Road station in Edinburgh.

(Image: Google Earth. The same scene today. Dalry Road station has long disappeared)

The lost Dalry Road station platform access is one of many rail and tramway relics in Edinburgh that have been sealed off from the public gaze forever. Others include a hidden railway tunnel in Leith, the Scotland Street tunnel’s gated portal at Waverley station, and a subterranean winding room from the Edinburgh Corporation’s original cable-hauled trams. The latter lies frozen in time beneath Haymarket.

Disused Rails in Buccleuch Street, Melrose (Marmions Brasserie)

The disused narrow gauge railway track within close of Marmions Brasserie, Melrose.

(Images: Urban Ghosts. Disused rails within close of Marmions Brasserie, Melrose)

Yesterday, while strolling around the attractive town of Melrose, I stumbled upon a railway oddity that immediately intrigued me. Having visited this historic community in the Scottish Borders on several occasions, I’m well acquainted with the Melrose railway station which, though disused, is partially preserved alongside the A6091 road. (The elegant Victorian station building is now an Italian restaurant.) But this oddity wasn’t associated with the old station, which was built in 1849 by the North British Railway and remained in use until January 1969. Rather, it lay across town in Buccleuch Street, and featured a disused railway track – curiously sunk into the concrete floor of a narrow close, or passageway, running from front to rear of a restaurant building.

The building in question, which stands opposite the Melrose post office, houses the award-winning Marmions Brasserie. The ‘close’ runs down the right side of the building at ground level, connecting Buccleuch Street to a small courtyard at the back of the brasserie.

The mysterious rails lie rusted in the concrete and may indicate an old wagonway or industrial tramway.

(The mysterious rails lie rusted in the concrete and may indicate an old wagonway)

The mysterious narrow gauge railway is almost as wide as the passageway itself. Its purpose is unclear, though it was presumably installed when (or after) the structure now housing Marmions Brasserie was first built. The rusted steel tracks indicate an old tram or wagonway (like the one at Harewood House) that may once have been used to carry goods from their roadside drop-off to the storage yard beyond.

The 'close', or entrance passagway, in which the abandoned railway track lies, can be seen on the far right of the Marmions Brasserie building.

(The ‘close’, or entrance passagway, can be seen on the far right of the Marmions Brasserie building)

We’re unsure whether, at one time, the rails extended further than the length of the close, but perhaps you can shed some light on this intriguing wagonway track? If so, please drop us a comment below.

Related: 10 Forgotten Plateways & Wagonways of Britain

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Points Skyward Amid a Ukrainian Housing Estate

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fishbed turned into a monument to Ukraine's Cold War past.

(Image: Roman Naumov. A Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 points skyward)

Just as you might find decommissioned planes, tanks and helicopters displayed outside branches of the American Legion, so too are retired MiG fighters a not-uncommon feature of town squares across former Eastern Bloc. We’ve highlighted a handful of these Cold War relics previously in our article “MiG Monuments“, but the composition of this photograph – in which a rather neglected-looking Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fishbed points skyward in the midst of a Ukrainian housing estate – caught our eye. The MiG-21 first flew in 1956 and was introduced three years later. Between 1959 and 1985, 11,496 Fishbeds were built for the Soviet Union and a swath of other nations, making it the most produced supersonic combat jet in the history of aviation.

Read Next: Abandoned Helicopters: 22 Derelict Choppers & Rotorcraft Graveyards

Hidden Wartime Bunker Under Paris Gare de l’Est

The secret WW2 bunker beneath Gare de l'Est in Paris

(All images: Secret WW2 bunker beneath Gare de l’Est in Paris)

Every year, almost 34 million passengers hurry along the crowded concourse of Paris Gare de l’Est railway station, in the 10th arrondissement, making their way to and from trains that are served by 30 different platforms. But many remain unaware of the of the secret wartime bunker that lies frozen in time beneath their feet.

Hidden in plain sight: the preserved wartime air raid shelter beneath platforms 2 and 3 at Paris Gare de l'Est railway station.

The underground space is rarely open to the public, but photographs reveal a network of subterranean rooms that remain eerily intact. Situated beneath platforms 2 and 3, the historic bunker has for years been faithfully maintained by the SNCF (Société nationale des chemins de fer français), the state-owned railway company than manages rail traffic across France and the Principality of Monaco.

Secret World War Two bunker and air raid shelter in Paris, France.

As World War Two loomed menacingly on the horizon, the French authorities set about building a 1,290 square foot air raid shelter beneath the platforms of Gare de Paris-Est, anticipating a sustained aerial bombardment from Göring’s Luftwaffe. But the shelter wasn’t finished by the time the Third Reich marched into Paris, and it was later completed by occupying Nazi forces.

Atlas Obscura writes that “the subterranean chamber’s purpose and the extent to which it was used is unknown, but the key location suggests it could have been an important hiding place.” More than 70 years later, German inscriptions on the walls reflect its use during this period of occupation.

The gloomy interior of the mysterious Gare de l’Est bunker is like a Second World War time capsule, a haunting and rather sinister slice of hidden history amid the timeless beauty of Paris.

A silent network of chambers and ancillary rooms are connected by narrow passageways lit by stark yellow lights. The French and German signage – stencilled on the cold concrete walls and steel doors – that once directed occupants around the underground space, remains extant.

Metal tables, chairs and other basic furnishings are as they were when Allied forces reached Paris, as are the pipes, wires and other apparatus that line its chilly walls. The only natural light comes from a glass roof that opens onto the busy concourse above, but even that offers few clues to the bunker’s existence amid the clamour of the daily commute.


Read Next: 10 Surviving Military Relics of World War Two

RTP Goldstars Special: Tornado GR4 ZA548 to Leeming for Disposal

Panavia Tornado GR4 ZA548 - RTP.

(Image: Howard Sinclair. Tornado GR4 ZA548 reduced to produce)

Last up it was ZA453 (022), now it’s the turn of Panavia Tornado GR4 ZA548 (040) to meet the breaker. The ‘Goldstars special’ first flew on July 3, 1981 and made her final flight to RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire to be reduced to produce (RTP) on June 29, 2017 – almost 36 years from the day she first took to the air.

The RTP process sees withdrawn airframes stripped of all useful parts – to be used as spares for the remaining fleet – before their empty hulks are disposed of as scrap. With most of the RAF’s Tornado GR4 fleet having now been reduced to produce, it’s unclear how many spare parts are still required to sustain the last remaining squadrons until their out of service date in 2019.

Tornado GR4 ZA548 has been withdrawn from service and reduced to produce.

(Image: Howard Sinclair)

ZA548 was built as a Tornado GR1 and upgraded to GR4 standard in 1999 during the type’s mid-life upgrade programme. She returned to service on May 19, 2000.

Based at RAF Marham in Norfolk, No. 31 Squadron (the ‘Goldstars’) is one of three remaining Tornado GR4 units (the others being 9 and 12 squadrons) in RAF service. The squadron formed at Farnborough on October 11, 1915 as a Royal Flying Corps unit.

Goldstars special Tornado ZA548 has been flown to RAF Leeming for RTP.

(Image: Howard Sinclair)

Tornado ZA548 received the commemorative Goldstars tail fin in 2015 to marked the 100th anniversary of 31 Squadron. The airframe is the latest to go out of service in the ongoing draw-down and RTP process of the RAF’s last remaining Tornado strike jets. It’s unclear at this point which, if any, GR4s have been earmarked for preservation.

Hat tip: Howard Sinclair

Read Next: 21 Abandoned Airplane Graveyards (Where Aviation History Goes to Die)

Echoes of Kowloon Walled City Amid Modern Urban Redevelopment

Walled City by Andy Yeung.

(Images: Andy Yeung. Kowloon Walled City)

Until its demolition in 1994, the slum settlement known as Kowloon Walled City was arguably Hong Kong‘s most notorious neighbourhood. So densely-populated was the Walled City that, by the late ’80s, some 33,000 people occupied less than 6.5 acres of virtual lawlessness, where organised crime ran the show, and drugs, gambling and prostitution were commonplace.

But by 1987, eviction orders were paving the way for the demolition of the troubled settlement. By 1994, the notorious slum had almost completely disappeared, its squalid footprint transformed into the Kowloon Walled City Park. Still, echoes of the old settlement remain in the remnants of its South Gate, surrounded by the 21st century towers of modern Kowloon City.

It’s in this urban redevelopment that photographer Andy Yeung found inspiration – and a certain irony – for his visually stunning photo series titled, appropriately, Walled City. Using a drone to soar hundreds of feet above the changed cityscape, Andy’s striking images reveal a new kind of urban density that’s taken hold in the last two decades.

“The Kowloon Walled City was once the densest place on Earth,” Andy writes on his website. “Hundreds of houses stacked on top of each other enclosed in the centre of the structure. Many didn™t have access to air or open space. This notorious city was finally demolished in 1990s.”

“However, if you look hard enough, you will notice that the city is not dead,” he added. “Part of it still exists in many of current high density housing apartments where the only view out the window is neighbour’s window. I hope this series can get people to think about claustrophobic living in Hong Kong from a new perspective.”

You can check out more of Andy Yeung’s work on Facebook, Instagram and 500px.

Hong Kong's notorious Kowloon Walled City slum in 1989, before clearance and demolition.

The remnants of Kowloon Walled City's South Gate.

(Images: Ian Lambot; Cara Chow. Kowloon Walled City in 1989 & South Gate ruins)

Cabo Santa Maria: The Cape Verde Shipwreck

The wreck of container ship Cabo Santa Maria off Cape Verde.

(Image: Ximonic. The shipwrecked Cabo Santa Maria transport vessel)

She’s a rusting ghost of her former self, collapsing into the sea, but the shipwrecked Cabo Santa Maria is still an impressive sight off the spellbinding coast of Cape Verde, one of the most developed and democratic nation’s in the African Union.

The wrecked transport vessel has been an offbeat tourist attraction since 1968, when she ran aground on the shore of Boa Esperança, on the north side of Boa Vista, the third largest of the 10 islands that make up the volcanic West African archipelago.

The Cabo Santa Maria was shipwrecked off the coast of Cape Verde in 1968.

(Image: runningamok)

The crew, fortunately unhurt as their ship came to grief, fled as locals salvaged valuable cargo from the Cabo Santa Maria’s hold. For almost half a century, the shipwreck has been assailed by wild Atlantic storms that have caused much of her hull and superstructure to disintegrate into the ocean.

Related: Map Reveals Location of San Francisco™s Buried Ships

The rusting hulk of 50-year-old shipwreck Cabo Santa Maria

(Image: Ximonic)

Intrepid tourists looking to catch a glimpse of the atmospheric shipwreck can reach the nearby sea shore via overland vehicle or by hiking over rough terrain. According to Easy Voyage: “You can reach it with a 4×4 via a torturous cobblestone road built by the Portuguese, followed by a track in the middle of palm and acacia trees which grows worse with every passing minute.

The Cape Verde shipwreck.

(Image: Ximonic)

The website adds: “You will see a few goats and donkeys grazing among the rocks and the odd patches of grass. You can also get there on foot from Sal Rei, where you can choose from the various trail options (it will take between an hour and a half and two hours to get there).”

Read Next: 10 Sunken Supertankers & Shipwrecked Bulk Carriers

R2-D2 Unit Sells for Millions of Dollars at Auction

(R2-D2 prop sells for $2.76 million. Image: gromit15)

The iconic prop may have appeared battered and rather low-tech in its own galaxy far far away, but last week it was reported that an R2-D2 droid used in several Star Wars movies had sold for millions of dollars at auction.

Auction house Profiles in History, based in Calabasas, California, expected the R2 unit to fetch up to $2 million in last Wednesday’s sale. But it exceeded expectations on the day and sold for $2.76 million, the Guardian reported.

The newspaper wrote that “the 43-inch (110cm) tall unit that was compiled from parts used throughout filming of the original trilogy”.

(Image: Webster2703. An R2 unit alongside bossy companion C-3PO)

It is understood that the droid was built by a British enthusiast from original parts that were salvaged after the original Star Wars films had been completed. It is not known who placed the winning bid.

Other items, however, including Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber from the first two instalments and Darth Vader’s helmet from the first film A New Hope, did less well, selling for $450,000 and $96,000 respectively.

In addition to Star Wars memorabilia, Bill Paxton’s helmet from Aliens sold for $51,000 while 23 spaceships from Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galactica sold for $1.8 million.

(Image: Stux. R2 alongside BB-8)

But the Guardian added: “Not all the items that sold were out of this world. The lighted dancefloor from Saturday Night Fever sold for $1.2 million.”

(Note: the images used in this article are for representational purposes and do not depict the prop in question.)

Related: R2 Unit Stands Vigil Over the X-Wing Graveyard

Glasgow’s Spitfire LA198 at Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum

(Images: Urban Ghosts. Supermarine Spitfire F21 LA198 in Kelvingrove Museum)

British aviation fans often describe the Supermarine Spitfire as the most beautiful aircraft to ever grace the skies. And with good reason; its elegant design and high performance have made R.J. Mitchell’s acclaimed aircraft a flying legend, while its decisive role during the Battle of Britain – as the pilots of RAF Fighter Command fought tirelessly against the might of the German Luftwaffe – has cemented its place as a national icon.

This is embodied perfectly by “the Glasgow Spitfire”, which is proudly displayed amid the late Victorian grandeur of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in the city’s West End. Despite inhabiting different points in time, the two seem like a perfect match, echoes of vintage design and engineering at its most graceful.

This particular Supermarine Spitfire, serial number LA198, is a late model Mark F21 airframe fitted with the more powerful Rolls Royce Griffon engine, as opposed to the Merlin, which allowed those earlier Battle of Britain machines to take on their formidable German adversaries. The vintage fighter, coded RAI-G, also has a five-bladed propeller.

Spitfire LA198 served with No. 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron, a Royal Auxiliary Air Force unit, between 1947 and 1949. 602 had formed as a light bomber squadron in 1925. In 1938 its role changed to one of army-cooperation and by the time the Second World War broke out in 1939, it had become a fighter unit.

According to a plaque inside the Kelvingrove Museum: “The 602 pilots were the first part-time squadron to be equipped with Spitfires – on 8 May 1939. The squadron was disbanded at the end of World War II in 1945, but reformed a year later. They continued to fly Spitfires until 8 May 1951, exactly 12 years after the planes first arrived.”

The Spitfire F21 was developed in 1944 as World War Two was nearing its bloody end game. After the war LA198 was placed in storage and, after a three year spell as a gate guardian at RAF Leuchars during the 1980s, eventually passed to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, where she hangs among the animals in one of several grand halls.

Read Next: Vintage World War Two Fighter Planes Hidden Away for 40 Years