Thursday, 27 August 2009


I have to go on a walk everyday otherwise I start to loose connection with what’s important and what isn’t. The only days that I don’t go on walks is if it’s raining heavily or I have become too neurotic and sucked into what I am working on, which usually happens when I haven’t gone on a walk in a while.

Yesterday it rained all day. I did not go for a walk. My words started to slip and get lost somewhere between my animus and my ego.

The day before yesterday I went for a walk. I thought I was gone less than an hour, but when I came home it was already 6pm. I’d been walking for almost three hours. When I walk I try hard to push verbal thoughts out of my head, to live only with what my eyes see, my ears hear, my nose smells, my skin touches, my tongue tastes. Anything beyond this, anything verbal, I try to dispel. I am a verbose person, I guess that’s why I choose to write stories. If I’m not careful I start to drown in words. It isn’t good. It isn’t healthy. I have to take a break sometimes.

I am very fortunate to live in a stunningly beautiful place. The things I feel for this land are extremely primal and powerful. I love this land more than I love almost anything else. Within walking distance of my little white cottage there is so much to see. Here are some photographs of just a tiny amount of the treasures they lay in the surrounding three miles of my house. I don’t often photograph my walks because the process of photographing what is around me detaches me from my surroundings. I get stuck in Plato’s Cave. But I’ve walked these paths so many times that I think it’s now ok to respond to them from a reflective, detached point of view, on occasion.

This is the foundry. It’s been slowly decaying for 14 years, left abandoned. In 1860 the largest water wheel in Europe was in operation at this foundry (60ft diameter), and this was where the wheel was made. Bomb casings for WW2 were made here. It’s had countless uses, and now after hundreds of years of operation this place lies silent; a window into our history. A lot of the villagers want it to be demolished, because it's been decaying like this for 14 years and they think it is ugly. I think it is beautiful. It's a magnet, it draws in young creative people from all over. Music videos have been filmed here, art and photography projects inspired by it, graffiti artists turning the peeling white paint into a huge canvas for their work.

In a small wood beyond the foundry, up past the golf course, there are a number of underground bunkers that were built in WW2. They have something to do with the nearby Zeals airfield, which was in operation at that time. When myself and my siblings were children we’d play here, afraid that tramps lived in the bunkers. Even to this day I approach them with caution, terrified some bedraggled old man will stagger out into the light.

A view of the forest.

New Lake. I sat here on the shore for a long while, watching the herons and a strange black bird. Not sure what that was. It was huge and hulking and beautiful, nesting in the corner of the lake I think. This lake is very close to the famous Stourhead gardens.

This forest is quite large and stretches from here up to Longleat. One day I will walk from home, from the most Southerly point of this forest, right up to the most northerly point.

This is my favourite place in the whole world. It doesn’t capture well on the camera because its beauty is subtle. I can sit in this coombe for hours on end and never feel bored. A small stream bubbles down the trough of the valley, dragonflies darting across the water. Beyond the valley is a small copse in which is a witch’s cottage.

And here we are parallel with the foundry, back near the start of the walk. The distant view of Shaftesbury across the vale. That’s a town where most of my friend’s live. Sometimes I wish I lived there too, because though I am very shy, I like to be in the company of my friends. I don’t have a car. The town is up a steep hill. I am not fit enough to comfortably cycle it yet.

Where will I walk today? I don't know. I try to let my feet guide me and not plan it out in advance.

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