What was once a toxic wasteland now explodes with flora and fauna. A walk there always gives me renewed faith in imagination, determination and humanity

Is it possible to be over walking? All this wholesome outdoor socialising may be healthier, but last week – while slithering over black-ice patches in the dark with a friend, soggy paper cups of mulled wine sloshing, unable even to clutch each other to stay upright – I realised I felt slightly jaded.

There is, however, one York walk that never palls: my daily trip to the dump. Not the actual dump, but the disused one, just behind it. Walk through the industrial estate, past Lidl, a builders’ merchant and the recycling centre, duck down a scrubby path by the council vehicle depot and you enter an unexpected wonderland: St Nick’s nature reserve.

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