In response to Walking the Land’s exhibition, Ghost Mills, about the local textile culture and the many disused or repurposed mills in the Stroud Valleys, a number of us developed a project looking to the future based on an idea to build six large wind turbines on the high points around Stroud – A Ring of Mills. We had originally recorded interviews with local people on video, seeking their views to the idea and wanted to continue this by walking with people on their favourite walks, identifying their ideas for how a carbon neutral landscape could be taken as an opportunity to increase the value of the landscape for people and wildlife. This tied in with the local authority’s carbon neutral strategy. And then came lockdown. So instead we interviewed groups of people on zoom and asked them to walk and make videos which we then assembled on a website.
Walking the Land is an artist collective that has been active in Gloucestershire’s Stroud Valleys since 2002. We link landscape, community and art through projects, research, exhibitions, installations, writing and shared walks with numerous artists, other professions and the wider community. We have been walking with others on the first Friday of every month since 2004. Our projects and multi disciplinary dialogues often bridge community, private, academic and public sectors, involving people in landscape decision making or other public policy while developing us as practitioners and creating new knowledge.