One of the starting points of my Blossom & Thorn project about hedges along the National Forest Way has been my work on paths. This piece, on a wall boundary, represents a path, a walk, an escape route, a boundary. My work crosses over lots of elements of personal and landscape history at the moment and the stories intermingle, grow together like hedge branches and twining honeysuckle and rose.
During the development of the Blossom & Thorn project concept I chose to bring together my interest in paths and walking routes with this project about hedges. At one point I was thinking about hedges across the whole National Forest area which is 200 square miles and was far too big for a 6 month project! I realised the National Forest Way, a 75 mile long distance footpath winding across the National Forest, starting a couple of miles from my house, was the perfect container for this idea.
During this month volunteer hedge spotters are walking parts of the National Forest Way and using my hedge spotters guide to look closely and think about the hedges they find on their walks. The process of looking at hedges on a walk makes you slow down and consider your surroundings. I hope it is helping people learn new things and see their familiar landscape in new ways. By slow looking and thinking we can engage in depth with something new. By walking along footpaths we take our time and we also walk in the footsteps of thousands before us who would have known these hedges too.
This week is National Hedgerows Week and I encourage you to go out and look at rural and urban hedges while they are at their best, full of greenery and blossom, before the thorns become more obvious again in the winter. If you are near enough the National Forest Way in Leicestershire, South Derbyshire or Staffordshire, please share you findings about the hedges you see along the National Forest Way and be part of my project mapping and recording the fascinating linear forests our landscape is crisscrossed by. Find out more about taking part here. Volunteers can win tickets to Timber Festival and join me on a walk exploring the old hedgerows of the festival site as well as much more!
One thought on “Following Paths and Hedges”
Hi Ruth Thanks for sending me the print copy of your project brochure. Delicious. Just to say, I’ve had a hysterectomy so haven’t been able to do a hedge walk so far…..but I will before the deadline as I’m recovering well. It’s a great project!
All best Jane Anger
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