The Herepath Project - deep mapping and hedgespringing during lockdown

The Herepath Project - deep mapping and hedgespringing during lockdown
Author: Manwaring, Kevan (8 November 2022)


Moving to the Marlborough Downs on the edge of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Avebury in late 2019 (an area I have been exploring since the late `80s), I decided to map my new locality through poetry and art – connecting nodes of significance to create a personal Wiltshire ‘songline’: The Herepath Project. As the 2020 lockdown kicked in, the concept of ‘deep mapping’ (Nan Shepherd) my local universe gained increasing poignancy. In the form of a literary dérive – charting zones of ambience and influence as I range metaphorically across the Downs – this article will consider different forms of creative mapping, including the ‘Counter-Mapping’ of the Zuni Map Art Project; and the ‘song-walking’ of Dr Elizabeth Bennett (Essex University); as well initiatives which ‘hack’ the hegemonic discourses of the countryside, such a Black Girls Hike, the Colonial Countryside project, and Slow Ways, and other acts of creative resistance (Rebecca Solnit; Nick Hayes). Examples from the poetry pamphlet produced will be shared, along with the odd field sketch. A technique of ‘writing the land’ will be fashioned, combining repurposed elements of Debord’s psychogeographical ‘dérive’, Richard Long’s ‘Land Art’, and Buddhist ‘jongrom’. Drawing inspiration from the biodiversity of the Downs a non-anthropocentric perspectival shift will be advocated for deconstructing the conventional human-centred cartographies of property demarcation, ontological discreteness, and hierarchical layering.

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