Something for the weekend? Snuggle up and listen

Like Mr Kipling, Mr Stanley makes exceedingly good confectionery, and his walking sticks are just such a favourite of ours. Even if you haven’t got a box of these minty delights close to hand, we have got something for you curl up to listen to, and dream about the Spring and sunshine soon to come.

 

Bibi Calderaro

Bibi Calderaro is a ‘forest therapy’ expert who leads people on sensory walks along woodland trails in a north eastern USA, and we had the privilege of chatting to her over the Internet and recording our latest Talking Walking episode.  Like us, you are probably wondering what a forest therapist actually does, and there appears to be a lot more to it that just a walk in the woods. She discusses what are the key elements that she includes in her sensory walks, that tackle the urban maladies of stress and anxiety, and the reaction of participants to them. Such has been the demand for her walks, she has been recommissioned to devise more. Our conversation also explores ‘shinrin-yoku’ the Japanese healing practice of ‘forest bathing’, that as an accredited forest therapist, Bibi has been incorporating in her practice. Bibi is also an artist-in-residence for the US National Park Service, which sounds like an absolute gem of an experience. Have a listen

Bibi’s sensory walks are not dissimilar to the Museum of Walking‘s Sense Safaris, so it was interesting to find out more from Bibi about how her walks have been received.   We have also been doing some ‘forest therapy’ of our own through our Mindfulness through Movement walkshops that have been devised by Mel Sutton.  Mindfulness is proving popular, and Mel has just been running Mindfulness walkshops with elderly participants with slight dementia, commissioned by the Dulwich Picture Gallery – next month she is also running yoga sessions there too.

It’s Talking Walking’s tenth anniversary and we’ve had the pleasure of delving through the archive and getting in touch with all the fabulous people we’ve interviewed – all of whom share our passion for walking.  Hamish Fulton  has provided some fabulous new artwork for his Talking Walking page, that tells you what he’s been up to since our conversation took place. Have a listen


Like many events this week, we have had to postpone Tom Bolton’s London’s Loss walkshop in which he will be revealing the Lost Rivers of Camden but the great news is that on its new date, more of it will be in daylight – why not join him on Wednesday 28 March Book now

Our Urban Forest Explorations with Paul Wood stride into Spring, with our first visit to a west London neighbourhood on Sunday 18 March.  Starting Turnham Green tube station we will be making our way through Chiswick, joined by campaigners from the London National Park City and Abundance London.

The following week, we are celebrating ‘Hanami‘ – the coming of the cherry blossom, which is celebrated in Japan and increasingly in other parts of the world too. Come and join us as we explore first Herne Hill on Sunday 25 March and then Crouch End on Sunday 8th April

We have linked up with the International Cherry Blossom Festival in Vancouver, who have generously sent us this delightful photo by Clarence Chan.

 


Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you on a walk in the not too distant future.


All about walking blog posting is unpredictable – if it’s raining biblical downpours then a blog post is more likely to appear, in most other weather conditions we are out walking and not blogging on a keyboard…..

This week is full of anniversaries – here’s one of which we are particularly proud

Talking Walking is 10 years old

Way back in February 2008 we published our first podcast episode on talkingwalking.net an interview with Simon Pope – the interview itself had taken place in a student room at Banff Centre for Arts in Canada in November the previous year.  Simon was a guest artist for a Locative Media Residency and Andrew Stuck was a participant in a Walking and Art Residency.

As it happens romance also blossomed for Simon that month too – just ask his partner Sarah Cullen, where it was they first met……

While in Banff, Andrew had interviewed a dozen walking artists and set out to publish them as podcasts in monthly episodes in the following year, but that didn’t quite come to pass, as he hadn’t anticipated the time it would take to edit each of them!  Andrew caught the bug of recording interviews and already knowing a few others working in the field of walking, he began interviewing them too. So Talking Walking became far more than just an anthology of Walking Artists, and instead grew into a library that includes a diversity of voices from across the field of walks and walking.

So how to mark such an anniversary when there are so many more important life and society changing anniversaries to commemorate?

Throughout the year, we are going to be highlighting interviews from the Talking Walking archive, and Andrew has been able to track down a number of his original subjects and asked them to bring us up to date with their work, and we will share these with you.

The current episode is an interview with Nick Hallissey, from Country Walking magazine, and he has boldly printed an interview of Andrew that you can read in the March issue of Country Walking – on sale now!  All listeners and readers of this e-bulletin can benefit from a reduced subscription of Country Walking and discounts off our walkshops – read more here. Go on, treat yourself to a listen – there are more than 80 interview to choose from and all are free to download or to stream.

So what has been going on this week for Talking Walking?

Apart from updating some of the original webpages, Andrew has been out along the Regent’s canal recording an interview with George Fort, the brains behind Gooza a web-based app that collects stories about places and walking routes in London.  Andrew was introduced to George by Tom Bolton, historian and author of several engaging books about London for walkers, who he had interviewed for Talking Walking back in 2010.  This stretch of the canal was also the spot where Andrew recorded an interview with epic adventurer Nick Hunt. There is a fair bit of editing going on too, with an interview with Tom Hall, Editorial Director of Lonely Planet travel guides, on the editing suite.  While the final touches are being made to an interview with Grace Adam, a sculptor who has put whimsical messages on finger post signs in Queen’s Wood to encourage those on foot to get lost in the woods.

We have also created a Twitter account @talkwalk10 where you can follow what Talking Walking interviewees are currently posting and #talkingwalking10 to capture events linked to past interviewees.

Is this the most woolly hats on a Hackney street?

It was certainly a cold day for a walk, but everyone appeared to enjoy our most recent Exploration into the Urban Forest with Paul Wood, author of London’s Street Trees as we walked through the diverse forest of Haggerston.

 

As Spring starts to emerge, days get lighter for longer, and a little warmer, why not join us for future explorations, in Pimlico (25 Feb), Chiswick (11 Mar), Herne Hill (18 Mar) and Crouch End (8 April).  You can even purchase a Loyalty Card on line and save money or book individual walks in advance to get early bird discounts.


And must watch TV is ITV’s Britain’s Favourite Walks – only available for a limited time.


Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you on a walk in the not too distant future.


All about walking blog posting is unpredictable – if it’s raining biblical downpours then a blog post is more likely to appear, in most other weather conditions we are out walking and not blogging on a keyboard…..

Chasing the Dream

Can it really get better than being paid to go for a walk – not just any old walk, like the errands I used to be asked to undertake as a child whenever my pocket money was depleted, but instead go and discover the Lake District, the north Norfolk coast, or the South Downs, and all the while get paid for doing just that.

I know when I interviewed Nick Hallissey, the Deputy Editor of Country Walking Magazine, he tried to convince me that his job wasn’t just walking, but entailed some office-bound work, but I will let you decide, when you listen to the latest episode of Talking Walking.  The interview took place on balmy mid summer’s day and I travelled by train to Shelford, where Nick and photographer Richard Faulks, met me, and then drove me to Trumpington on the outskirts of Cambridge.

Walking from there, the plan was to keep close to the Cam, walking across the Grantchester meadows, and eventually along “the Backs” into the heart of Cambridge itself.  It’s a route that I have walked and cycled many times before.  Grantchester made famous by Rupert Brooke, and more recently, Jeffrey Archer, was home to me in my final year at university.  I partied for my 21st along the Cam and in and amongst the pubs, the Red Lion and the Green Man.  We frequently strode over to the Green Man to fill up our coffee pot with Greene King IPA and carry it back to our flat above Tony Sargeant’s Skoda showroom.  I lived there before Jeffrey did, so I realised I hadn’t been back to Grantchester for over 30 years, and yet the flat above the showroom looked as bedraggled as it did when I lived there.  Jeffrey has done a splendid job on tidying up the vicarage, but beyond that, the hamlet still has that feel of charming backwater.

Well, you can read more about where Nick and I trod on that day, as Nick has written it up as a feature in the March edition of Country Walking Magazine – and I am rather flattered to have been included, when he has had all those other paid walks to write about. 

So not only did we conduct joint interviews that day, but we have also negotiated an reciprocal offer – as a listener, you can qualify for a discount off the a subscription to Country Walking Magazine, and as a subscriber, you can get a discount on any of our walkshops in 2018.  What greater invitation do you want before listening to Nick Hallissey talking walking?


“Amazing walk in spite of the weather”

So wrote Rachel Gomme, live art performer, ecological walking artist and Peckham resident to boot, but her comments were echoed by the 25 diehards who joined Museum Co-creator Paul Wood for an Exploration of the Urban Forest in Peckham last Sunday. Oh did it rain and never stopped.  This didn’t deter the group, and although I was a tad confused as Paul deviated off our carefully planned route, we managed a circular walk full of intriguing trees, local myths, and a lovely meeting with a local hero.  Eileen Conn has been a community activist for more than 40 years.  Indeed it is the 40th anniversary since she won over Southwark council to plant an avenue of birch trees in Nutbrook Road – selected by Paul as one London’s best street tree avenues. It was terrific to meet her and hear her talk with such enthusiasm about Peckham and how she has galvanised the community and the authorities to invest in civic buildings and public space.

We have managed to get Paul’s choice of 9 best street trees in London in the on-line edition of Time Out, with a handy link to the Museum of Walking website, and next week, we hear, there will be map of street trees included in their print edition too.  All the more reason, why we recommend you book your place on forthcoming walkshops in our Explore the Urban Forest series.

  • Sunday 4 February 10.30am-12 Noon
  • Hackney – Haggerston
  • Exploring the Urban Forest with Paul Wood
  • Read more or Book now
  • Sunday 25 February 10.30am-12.30pm
  • Pimlico
  • Exploring the Urban Forest with Paul Wood
  • Read more or Book now

Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you on a walk in not too distant future.


All about walking blog posting is unpredictable – if it’s raining biblical downpours then a blog post is more likely to appear, in most other weather conditions we are out walking and not blogging on a keyboard…..


How is your resolve? 5 days into 2018

How is your resolve? 5 days into 2018. The Museum of Walking is here to help – whether it’s starting something new, trying to get fit, or just being determined to be more worldly wise – we have something for you in the next few weeks – join in..

Be an experimental drawer and get to grips with London’s famous skyline – with encouragement and top tips from Museum Co-creator Ruth Broadbent.

You can read more and book from this web page or if you fancy, you can use FUNZING to book your place.  We are running Drawn to the Skyline walkshops in January and in February – booking is only available for Saturday 20 January at present, but make a note in your diary Saturday 24 February – a date etched in mine as it’s my mother-in-law’s birthday!


We are popping with excitement over the news that Time Out, London are as mad about street trees and Exploring the Urban Forest as we are.  This month, you will be able to pick up a copy of Museum’s Co-creator  (Guardian Nature writer of 2017) Paul Wood‘s handy map of street tree hotspots in London or spot one on-line, and you’ve guessed it we are going to be visiting each of them on future explorations.  The great news is that we already have 3 Explorations lined up in Peckham (Sun 21 January), in Haggerston (Sunday 4 February) and in Pimlico (Sunday 25 February).  We are also looking to develop a street tree cherry blossom series of walkshops from mid March when the pavements are lined with pretty pink petals.


Over the Festive period a lot of listening goes on in our household, in part that’s because I am trying to catch up with my editing backlog of Talking Walking interviews, but it also in part as there are some fantastic radio programmes and podcasts to listen to.  And with New Year resolutions in mind, did you hear the one about how exercise is a MUST for a healthy life, but it can’t help with weight loss without a change in your eating habits.  Dr Michael Moseley in Radio 4’s You and Yours spells it out, that Sunday stroll is just enough and even regular brisk walking has to be maintained over considerable distances to be of much benefit.

New look London Bridge station

Here in London, we are known for walking further and often faster than fellow Britons around the country, and now Network Rail is helping us even more, by opening the cavernous London Bridge station.  So vast and so far to walk, you have to leave at least 10 minutes to change from the Underground to National Rail, so far it is to walk. Do that twice, 5x a week, you are well on way to the recommended weekly dose of exercise.


At the Museum, we try to support the endeavors of as many walking activists and artists as we can, and with our limited resources, that often means collaborations, support in kind, and generally raising awareness and publicity.  Our plan is to invite guest bloggers help raise the standard of the content that you are reading here and publicise walking initiatives, pieces and events as we come across them.  Please do let us know about walking events etc. by using our Contact form.

So from our Co-creator community, stalwart Tim Ingram-Smith is continuing his Spiral walk around London – you can join him on Sunday 14 January at 1.00pm at Chingford station with a walk through Epping Forest.  The walks are free to join and you may find someone walking soul mates and you are sure to discover something new. Find out more here: http://londonspiral.wordpress.com/

We are also collaboration with the Architecture Foundation and their Tales of Three Cities architecture walks – we are joining them on Saturday 13 January for the Architecture of Money – you can too – and as an incentive if you use this code (afboxingday) you can get a 20% discount. Book here


Now our influence is never more broader than through our Talking Walking podcasts.  Even I find it hard to believe that it is ten years ago since I started interviewing people from the world of walking – artists, activists, professionals  and those who just have a passion for taking a walk…. – how many times have I said that? – well, at least 85 times as this week marks the 85th podcast episode.  Unlike many of them, my conversation with Professor Maggie O’Neill, a criminologist and

And searching for asylum – women walking and wellbeing

sociologist who using walking as a key element of her ethnographic research into the more vulnerable in our society, this one takes place in a hotel lobby and not out on a walk.  Our efforts to go for a walk were disrupted by a terrific downpour, and with Maggie, strapped for time between speaking engagements, we sort shelter in a hotel.

Words to navigate by – finger post in Queen’s Wood Highgate

Shelter wasn’t necessary this week, but careful foot placement to avoid slippery leaves and deep mud, as I recorded and interview with sculptor Grace Adam, whose intriguing “Out of the woods – words to navigate by” installation (or should we call it intervention) adorns Queen’s Wood in Highgate.

 

Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you on a walk in not too distant future.


All about walking blog posting is unpredictable – if it’s raining biblical downpours then a blog post is more likely to appear, in most other weather conditions we are out walking and not blogging on a keyboard…..

 

 

 

I looked with new eyes at things I had not noticed before

Level 10 of Tate Modern‘s new Blahvatnik building  offers 360 degree views of London’s skyline. To the north with St Paul’s Cathedral directly in your view, on a winter morning, with low light, colours are muted and yet the eye picks out shapes, lines and things one may not have noticed before. Under the careful guidance of Ruth Broadbent, our first ‘Drawn to the Skyline‘ workshop participants, began with experimental drawing using a technique, Ruth calls ‘Till roll skyline’ in which we were encouraged to deconstruct and reconstruct the skyline view in front of us.

Descending to ground level, we then undertook a ‘Scribble walk’ using a drawing machine that included a ‘Heath Robinson’ requisite rubber band, in which we walked over the Millennium Bridge, getting the movement of our body to trace lines. It was surprising how quickly we created art work of which we were proud, and Ruth encouraged us to share our work.  There followed a period of time during which we not only drew where we were walking but undertook a performance in which we we walked the lines each other had drawn.  That and learning a technique to slice the view to make it easier to sketch on the move, we were brimming with our success and didn’t want the walkshop to end.  We also tried more traditional drawing techniques including using the built environment to frame our view and looking back and forward to observe from different perspectives.

As one participant wrote in her feedback “Thank you for making this morning’s expedition such fun! I looked with new eyes at things I had not noticed before. Ruth obviously has so many good ideas and such a friendly way of communicating them.

However confident or novice you are in drawing or sketching, our Drawn to the Skyline walkshop is a must – our next one is on Saturday 20 JanuaryRead more or Book now

If you want to buy a couple of spaces as a Christmas Gift – drop us a line to arrange this


What would make your perfect neighbourhood in which to live?

Easy to get around on foot, a variety of destinations within walking distance, quintessential charm  with little traffic and places to sit, contemplate, chat to neighbours and friends, or play out with your children, would probably be the key factors we would choose.  Terence Bendixson believes his local London neighbourhood of Chelsea fits the bill – he has lived there since he was 11, when he used to walk to school, and since then he has walked his children and grandchildren.  It is all about street pattern and layout apparently – just don’t invite cars to come, instead make it known that it is difficult to get around by car, and they will stay away. As some will already know, Terence is President of Living Streets, and possibly the longest serving pedestrian activist in the world, so it was a great pleasure to walk his local neighbourhood and talk with him about his passion for walking in city neighbourhoods.  You can listen too with our latest Talking Walking episode.


A-Z in blue c/o Planet International Lettings, Crouch End.

Blueprint for walking? Examples of intriguing ways to navigate.

Just this week, on a bright sunny morning, I met up with the Museum’s Co-creator Simon Waters to walk from Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace in a roundabout route via the Parkland walk to Highgate, and then Queen’s Wood and up to Muswell Hill.

The Parkland Walk is a disused railway line through Haringay that links parks that we have used for the Mayor of London’s London Tree Week in May this year.  We Stalked Trees in Highgate Woods (commissioned by The Woodland Trust), composed haiku in Queen’s Woods and ran Mindfulness walkshops in Finsbury Park. For Simon and I these, off-road routes were actually fairly icy and one had to pick ones way with care.  Frustratingly that was the case too, on tarmac footpaths and footways, and we had to resort to walking on the roads….why, oh why is this still the case in when London claims to be a ‘walkable city’?

Our curiosity was piqued after we stopped for coffee at the Queen’s Wood community cafe, by some intriguing finger posts, with quotes, from Dylan, Shakespeare and others, it wasn’t until we got through to the far side of the woods that we found out about “Out of the Woods – Words to navigate by” by artist Grace Adam.  Thanks to the Friends of Queen’s Wood for commissioning her.

 


Listen out next week when BBC Radio 3’s slow radio champion Horatio Clare sets off in the footsteps of J S Bach on five “Bach Walks” and if you are looking for a stocking filler, look no further than Adam Ford‘s wonderful book ‘Mindful Thoughts for Walkers‘. Both highly recommended!

When the WOOD stands out from the trees

Congratulations are in order for the Museum of Walking‘s Co-creator, author Paul Wood who leads our Explorations into the Urban Forest walkshops that we launched back in September. 

Chosen by the Guardian as one of 2017’s best Nature books, Stephen Moss wrote “London Street Trees by Paul Wood (Safe Haven), .. adds a fascinating new dimension to any walk through the city.”

We still have a handful of tickets left, if you would like to join Paul leading our next Expedition from the Embankment to Holborn on Sunday 10 December from 10.30am at Embankment tube. Read more or Book now


Do you blog about walking?

We asked contributors to the Walking Artists Network if that’s what they did and we had over 50 responses – blogs are great for documenting walks, but they are also often used a part of the project planning process too.

Fine – we had a list but it wasn’t until Babak Fakhamzadeh created Iamthewalker.com that aggregates walking blogs into a fabulously easy to use website that we realised we were onto something.  What Babak has created is a great way for anyone researching walks, contemporary walking literature or walking art to find a source of inspiration.  And you too can now contribute your walking blog, simply by submitting it here.

So Babak has earned his spurs as a Museum Co-creator, and we are delighted to welcome him on board.  We are hoping to harvest his considerable skills in a reprise of Sound Walk Sunday and other adventures we are planning for the Museum and for our Talking Walking podcasts.


Talking  of Talking Walking podcasts, our latest episode of Talking Walking is an interview with Julie Poitras Santos.  She is currently exploring people’s sense of getting lost and the techniques they use to find their way again, both physically and metaphorically. In part she uses a labyrinth, and in our conversation, we discuss how group walking of labyrinths can bring clarity in thought and a strong sense of camaraderie, amongst strangers. The interview was recorded in August 2017 as part of “Made of Walking” at La Romieu in south west France.  We are walking on a warm summer’s day close to one of the entry points to the long distance pilgrimage route known as the Camino de Santiago. 24’ 31” 11.5MB


From the the wider Museum of Walking community, Sound Walk Sunday contributor Nathania Hartley invites you to Tapping in to the City on Sunday 10 December from 2.00pm (so you can join her once you’ve Explored the Urban Forest!). Just click on the image below to find out more….


And finally a couple of nuggets from the world of walking…..

You have heard of Google Streetview – well why not give Forestview a go to plan your route through the New Forestsee the woods from the trees without leaving your desk.

Devised by Transport for London there’s a new toolkit to help implement Healthy Streets Consisting of three resources, the toolkit covers the whole process from initial assessment, through implementation, to evaluation.

 


All about walking blog posting is unpredictable – if it’s raining biblical downpours then a blog post is more likely to appear, in most other weather conditions we are out walking and not blogging on a keyboard…..