There are 19 long distance national trails in the UK and you are about to hear from Martyn Howe, a man who has walked each of them, but he hasn’t stopped walking, and he is now completing the newly designated English coast path. So what got him going in the first place, and what kept him going, and what is his advice to anyone considering walking one or more of the national trails? Andrew Stuck tries to keep up with him as they walk through Regent’s Park in London, as Martyn explains his mantra of beast, feast and yeast and how his endeavours got published in his book, aptly called the Tales from the Big Trails. 23’10” 11.1MB
It was never going to be a gentle stroll for Andrew Stuck, walking in the company of a one-time TV fitness personality and bestselling diet books author, but it turned out to be very enjoyable, if at times, he had trouble keeping up with Joanna Hall. You can tell from her voice, how passionate she is in helping others to gain better health, through her Walk Active programme. She argues that most of us don’t walk optimally, and that by making subtle corrections, we can improve our health, our posture and bolster our confidence too. 20’10″ 9.8 MB
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“Tough Soles“, aka Ellie Berry and Carl Lange, set themselves a challenge to walk and make video recordings of each of the 42 national way marked trails in Ireland. This adventure was in part to better understand their home country, and grew to be an awareness-raising project encouraging others to discover the trails and the countryside through which they pass. One marvels at Ellie’s and Carl’s determination and discipline. Andrew Stuck would have loved to have accompanied them on the trails as their infectious enthusiasm and sheer joy spills through in this interview, that we recorded on Zoom. Andrew was also intrigued to establish how this mammoth walking adventure might have impacted on their relationship. 28′.53″ 13.5MB
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Fiona Hesse, is the guest curator of WALK!, the current exhibition at the Schirn Kunsthalle Gallery in Frankfurt that includes work from more than 40 international artists. Recorded over a Zoom call, it was Andrew Stuck’s pleasure to learn more about Fiona’s own journey to becoming a curator, her enthusiasm for contemporary art, and in how she undertook a PhD on walking artist, Hamish Fulton. Hamish was one of the first Talking Walking interviewees back in 2008. Although the opening of the WALK! exhibition was delayed by COVID, some of the artists featured were able to include work they had created under pandemic restrictions. Fiona reveals some of the criteria used to select works, offers a useful working definition of walking art, as well as suggesting a couple of walking art practices for listeners to try. 24’51” 11.6MB
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Featured Image credit: Schirn_Presse_Walk_Chung_A_Thousand_Years.jpg Tiffany Chung, A Thousand Years Before and After, 2012, Video (Farbe, Ton), 09:01 Min., Filmstill, © Tiffany Chung
“Where My Feet Fall” is an anthology of essays on walking by 20 contemporary authors, brought together by Duncan Minshull. Duncan was for decades an editor and senior producer for BBC Radio, and if like Andrew Stuck you are a fan of listening to books read on the radio, then it has been Duncan who is likely to have chosen them. “Where my feet fall” is not his first anthology of writing on walking, and Andrew is keen to establish, why he chose that topic, of all the ones he could from a lifetime career of choosing books for the radio. They meet in Paddington Recreation Ground, a popular London park close to where he lives. 18’56” 8.9MB
Published to coincide with the publication of “Where My Feet Fall” – you can join a conversation with Duncan at the Walking Writers’ Salon at 7pm BST on Tuesday 5 April – read more and book your ticket here.
Active travel and environmental activist Pam Rouquette has given Andrew Stuck a walk as a birthday present. The route that we take is around the city of Salisbury and links up places which are significant to Pam. 25 years ago in 1997, when she was still working as a community physiotherapist, she was a member of the Salisbury Walking Forum and became involved in a healthy walks initiative called the “Doorstep Walks”.
Pam has been the driving force behind healthy walks in Salisbury, ever since. She has led hundreds of group walks for different ages and abilities, devised scores of walking routes as well as being instrumental in creating a popular walking map for the city and surrounding areas. As you will learn from this slightly unusual interview, Pam has also had a hand in maintaining foot paths and in securing spaces for wildlife.
Over the years, Andrew has tried to entice Pam to be interviewed for Talking Walking and each time she has turned him down, modestly saying that she has little to tell. However, Pam is one of the most inspirational, and quietly determined people he has ever met, so as unobtrusively as he could, he took his recorder with him on this birthday walk.
The birthday walk begins on the bank of the River Nadder, we have reached this point by passing through a narrow railing-fenced alleyway between business units on the Churchfields industrial estate. We are less than 10 minutes walk from the railway station. 28’28” 13.6MB
Feature image – View of Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop’s Path on Harnham Hill
Andrew Stuck is in Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham, in the heart of Britain’s West Midlands, walking beside the River Rea with psycho-geographer and documentary film-maker, Andy Howlett, who recently completed “Paradise Lost” an essay-film about Birmingham’s Central Library and the death of modernism. Just before the first pandemic lockdown, Andy joined forces with Pete Ashton and Fiona Cullinan to create a walking art collective called Walkspace. Despite the lockdown, WalkSpace has grown exponentially, attracting artists, walkers and writers from across the region and support from the British Council. Andy talks about his own enthusiasms as a documentary film maker, as well as adventures by the Walkspace collective, that have included, a mapping project involving ‘extreme noticing’, a search for the geometric centre of Birmingham and a moonlit night walk in which magic spells were cast, as part of a series called ‘Walkspace erratics’ as well as a forthcoming international exhibition on ‘parallel walking’. 28′.10″ 13.2MB
Ben Clifford, was almost stranded in Melbourne at the beginning of lockdown. He returned home to Croydon on almost the last flight leaving Australia. With time on his hands, he began mapping and walking the parish boundaries of this large outer London borough. Several weeks later, having walked hundreds of miles, Ben has traced out 8 interconnected walks and called his project “Beating the Bounds”. Having walked the boundary of the London borough of Greenwich, Andrew Stuck was interested to find out what Ben had discovered. They meet on Conduit Lane, close to the start of the Vanguard Way, a long distance trail from Croydon to the south coast. 25’ 10″ 11.8 MB
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Anna Dighero is a contemporary dancer, whose passion for walking is inspired by family walking holidays in the Italian Alps. Not to be frustrated by the restrictions of the pandemic, she sought means by which she could keep in touch with physically-distanced friends, creating audio stories that they could walk in their local neighbourhoods. Weaving her dance experience, passion for walking and newly found interest in geo-locating sound recordings. Andrew Stuck meets Anna in Battersea Park on a warm sunny evening, as lockdown eases in London, and the interview opens with Anna telling us about her dance training. 19’15″ 9.0MB
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Featured image credit: Lucas Chiha-Peng Kao
Hugh Lupton is a storyteller, living in East Anglia, who has been walking the lanes and ways of Norfolk learning stories through walking, and sharing them across the globe. We meet on a cold and windy day in April on one of his favourite walks, beside the River Bure, and talk about how people can value place in a different way if they have a sense of the narratives that are associated with it.
It is not the first time that Andrew Stuck and Hugh have met. Both of them took part in the Sideways nomadic art festival, that included a walk across Belgian Flanders in 2012. 20’27″ 9.6MB
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In 2010 Jonathon Stalls walked from Delaware to California, crossing the United States on foot in 242 days. Quite an endeavour but it pales besides what he has achieved in the last ten years. He is the founder and creator of Walk2Connect walking beside thousands of people. It began in his home state of Colorado, and has expanded to several states, and even to the UK. It encourages people to walk (or roll) together, at an unhurried pace, to connect more closely with one another and their surroundings, in turn, building their appreciation of the environment and opening their eyes to the obstacles faced by pedestrians. In this extended interview – our first undertaken on Zoom, a month before the COVID pandemic struck, we explore Intrinsic Paths and Pedestrian Dignity, Jonathon’s new creative endeavours, and look into the future at what he anticipates he will be working on in the next 20 years. 32’28″ 15.2MB
As a walking artist, Jonathon sustains much of his creative work by way of patrons. You can learn more about becoming an Intrinsic Paths patron here.
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Feature image Credit: Art Heffron
Nick Tyler is Chadwick Chair of Civil Engineering at University College London and is the director of PAMELA one of the largest research laboratories in the country. However, as we learn from this softly-spoken professor it is not large enough, so he is now overseeing the building of a laboratory called PEARL in Dagenham (see image below). What has all this got to do with walking you ask? As Andrew Stuck learned in this conversation recorded before the pandemic, Nick is as interested in the fine grain detail of pedestrian behaviour as he is in engineering spaces that work for people. We also get an inkling of how the 2 metre social distance might have been decided upon, once the COVID virus had struck. 29’44″ 13.9MB
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Featured image: Nick Tyler taking part in a walkshop commissioned by the Parasol Unit, London – taken by Simon Waters