walkingOn Tuesday it will be the anniversary of the mass trespass at Kinder by a group of passionate ramblers. I first heard about this when I listened to the wonderful Manchester Rambler song written and performed by Ewan McColl.

When I was young I would walk with my dad, over the Clent hills then later when we moved to Evesham and then Broadway we walked in the Malvern Hills and The Cotswolds. I took for granted my right to roam and knew nothing of the people who had fought for the right of access to pathways where our ancestors had walked for generations. But then as a child I understood nothing of the concept of ‘ownership’ of land. There was a time when I wandered off a path near Broadway and into a beautiful wood where deer moved through dappled trees. So quiet. Walking happily down the road a land-rover came up behind me with a gamekeeper who questioned what I thought I was doing. Seemed obvious to me. Trespassing. Lucky for me he was a polite gamekeeper, though he did escort me back to the path. Could have been embarrassing had he called the police as the police was my dad!

I have always walked to think, to move, to live, to write. It is a form of meditation. So, as a ‘thank you’ to some of those who have enriched my life by their activism, here is a link to the life story of one, Benny Rothman. He was about the same age as I had been when scooped off the private land in the Cotswold by the polite gamekeeper. Without the likes of Benny much land would be closed off, enclosed and in the hands of bankers. Ownership may still lie with them, but access belongs to all. The freedom of movement, the freedom to enjoy this land belongs to all of us, because of the likes of Benny Rothman.

By coincidence this week I was working on a walking picture for East of the Sun.

About Jackie

I am an artist and writer. I live in a small house by the sea in Wales where I write, paint, walk and watch and dream of bears and whales. I love to read, have a wish for wings and prefer the company of animals to that of humans, though at times I can be quite friendly. I am learning how to work with wood engraving tools and hoping to show that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
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5 Responses to Walking

  1. This post christened my day—–Ah that Ewen McColl says it all—and your memories are the personal edge—if i go anywhere in between the much needed rain drops, it will be to the river, or a park. I’d walk to Massachusetts if I were younger and stronger, just to stare at the unbroken green again. Happy earth day World!

  2. Marvellous post, Jackie. I was brought up in Malvern, I see the influence of those hills in your work (!)
    I should like to follow your blog but can’t seem to find a button, would you advise where I must look, please?

    • Jackie says:

      No idea Polly. You can follow through rss feed I think, but I haven’t managed to find a ‘following’ tool yet. Might have to ask some advice on facebook I think. And yes, I can see the influence of the Malverns and the landscape around Evesham in my work. The first hare I ever saw was on the hills above Broadway. Still remember watching it leap a stone wall. It was like seeing a bit of medieval magic. Time, for me stood still. For the hare it went so fast.

  3. Kim says:

    I heard a really interesting programme on Radio4 about this recently ( Billy Bragg and the son of Benny Rothman I think) and was discussing it as I walked in the Lake District for my birthday this week. We are so lucky to have the freedom to explore these wild places. As for gamekeepers….I live surrounded by them and think you were lucky !

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