A way to walk…

in Creative Moments, Theory and Ideas

I recently asked my friends on social media to suggest creative and playful ways to walk. I know some very creative and playful people. 

Here’s a summary of some of the many many ways to walk; 

  • At night with shadows
  • Collecting colours
  • Like an ant on a micro scale 
  • Through an open space on a north south then east west route
  • Same route through the seasons
  • In silence with eyes truly open (a noticing walk)
  • Phenology walk
  • Without being seen by a squirrel (nicked from Mission:Explore)
  • Journey towards; pick a spot on the horizon and slowly mindfully pootle towards it with no intention of getting there

  • Collecting small things that can later be arranged / exhibited in colour spectrum order
  • Barefoot
  • Walking with your bare feet through moorland
  • Collecting stems of flowering grasses and really noticing how different they are – ‘grass’ covers such a multitude of forms and growing habits, maybe with a view to making a display of grasses in jam jars. (Inspired by childhood visits to Haslemere Museum in the 60s and 70s, where they always had a display of wild plant life to greet visitors.)
  • With the intention of describing your walk to another person to see if they can identify it from your description
  • Mapping the wind
  • Focusing upon the sounds around you
  • Pointing at the sounds we hear (one of the ideas being that we end up not all pointing at each other)
  • Collecting the sounds & mimicking them. Then at the end make a sound collage by building up the rhythm one person at a time using only sounds we’ve heard
  • With a mirror on your nose and a friend at your elbow, looking down into the mirror. So you see what’s up. Sky eyes.
  • With a dental mirror through the vegetation
  • Collecting items that when assembled create a sense of place for your walking route
  • Alphabetical walks
  • Hunting sea monsters
  • Number walks
  • Using the “going on a bear hunt” song to your destination and inventing obstacles along the way
  • Making ‘Journey Sticks’ a collection of things collected on your journey/walk attached to a stick of your choice with a large elastic head band wound around the full length of the stick or with individual rubber bands
  • Shape Walks
  • Walking meditations
  • Walking in time with your breath, one step on the in-breath one step on the out
  •  Stopping to breathe in the scene.
  • Feeling the ground underneath your feet.
  • Singing, chanting and walking in rhythm, singing while you walk. Sing about what you see, hear, smell, feel etc using repetitive songs that you can slot the different words into as you go along.
  • Stamping to get the mud off, bog trotting to get the mud on
  • Questing and deliberately getting lost
  • Purposeful meandering
  • In a conga with only the leader able to see
  • Guiding a blindfold partner
  • Off the ground
  • Always with 3 points of contact aka ‘stoating’
  • Lolloping along
  • Wearing big fluffy socks or dragging a furry friend and seeing what sticks
  • Holding hands
  • Using peripheral vision
  • Deer walking; develop peripheral vision by holding finger out in front then moving the to the side until at edge of vision whilst softening gaze forwards… walk slowly forwards
  • Make a plaster cast of a stone & photograph it placed in various spots in the landscape creating ‘holes’ in the world
  • Calming the senses under a blanket of fog, a concentration of vision on the near, bringing details into sharper focus
  • Under a smallish tarp so you can only see your feet and the ground around them
  • On a night walk focusing torches down special viewing tubes (bog rolls) to reveal the tiny details
  • Point and name, use any sound or made up name for things we might know or not
  • Like a dinosaur 
  • Like a fox
  • Making a line in the grass like Richard Long, land artist
  • Walk This Way, Talk This Way, which reading between the lines means walk as some sort of animal would move, whilst making the appropriate noises to show what sort of animal you are
  • Doing giant steps, doing tiny steps and trying to match someone else’s steps
  • Like you’ve sat in a puddle
  • Matching the exact footfall of the person in front
  • Like slow loris
  • With your eyes closed for as many steps as you dare… Even if its a straight path without many hazards you find your eyes really wanting to open after about 20 steps
  • Like an Egyptian 
  • With ghosts
  • Drawing sound
  • Sketching the landscape and nature; Cloud formations, insects, trees, plants etc along the way and then on your return try to identify all you have drawn
  • Single file walking, sending verbal messages about the route – like hazards or interesting spots – from person to person from the front to the back
  • Creeping quietly on a squirrel safari
  • Linked together (inspired by a little lad who was very keen on making links and tying things together, he once tied the whole group together and they went for a walk, trying not to let the links break)
  • Following footsteps in snow or sand (or mud or wet grass)
  • Summer meadow walk
  • Cup of tea walk. (This involves making a cup of tea and walking in the woods with it,it’s a Monday thing.)
  • A spotting walk – with some pictures to match up
  • Looking for treasure walk – this one good for the beach – and putting the finds on display
  • Rainbow walk with a black piece of long thin card with a strip of double sided tape stuck down the length, to attach things found on your journey like flowers, leaves, petals, feathers etc that represent each colour of the rainbow  
  • Walk like a hobbit – hobbits pride themselves on their silent footfall. And of course they don’t wear shoes on their hairy hairy feet
  • Laying a trail for a friend to follow, then swopping over
  • Using a coin flip to make decisions such as left or right
  • Hamish Fulton walks… he’s a renowned walking artist and has loads of ideas such as walking en masse very very slowly covering 50 metres in one hour in beautiful places.
  • Like your are catching iridescent bubbles of empty thoughts
  • Like you are trying to reach the end of the rainbow
  • Like you don’t want to disturb the Ents
  • Like you are wearing the cloak of invisibility
  • Like a monopod
  • Spiderwise
  • Talking to trees
  • Spontaneous story walks, like following the trail of a troll who left his bogies behind on the trees along the route – it was a damp wood with lots of different slime moulds in it
  • Lots of word game ways, eg. Alliterative- angled Ash, bold beech etc. Or semi structured stories eg. At this landmark x happened and then ten steps onwards I saw a y. We listened and heard a z and then walked to the leafiest thing we could see. Can be done solo with a promptsheet/notebook or in a small group talking
  • Stalk walk: a step a minute.
  • Walk whilst carrying very full beaker of water
  • Without using your feet
  • Blindfolded following the beat of a drum through the woods
  • or just rambling on…

Here’s a brilliant video on ways to walk in the woods

A link to the Walking Artists Network WAN

Ways to Wander

Other Ways to Walk 

A poem by my dad, inspired by his regular walking;

Walking the edge of sea like this
Establishes connection where nothing was
Connected. I am the singing over stones
That happens as the tide runs;
Am imprinted patterns into rock,
Or wind on water.
I am captured laughter
At the joke the world was one time
In the simple soul of god;
The air that terns climb
And the weather’s turning.
I the blood that beats
The movement of the turnstone wing
And rises in the sun.
I am the plan that time laid
In the lying strata,
Hold all things together as I think them
Or am thought; caught
In this moment as there is no other
Here on the edge, the edge
Of sea ,
And me.

This post was totally inspired by the contributions of Nell Lee, Clive Nutton, Jo Henshaw, Hayley Gillard, Lynne Gilmore, Nansy Ferret-Paine, Richeldis Messam, Mark Sainsbury, Fiona Mayles Busfield, Karen Smith, Sarah Gillibrand, Liz Wakelin, Libbertine Spragg, Mike Brady, Amy Boud, Chris Leleux, Corinne Hills, Helen Freeston, Toby Roberts, Joss Clapp, Katherine Owen, Penny Horseman, Marina Robb, Jan Barr, Kathryn Grogan, Win Fenton, Annie Hamilton-Gibney, Samwise Patalong, Sara Knight, Colin Horseman, Freya Pellie, Polly Snape, Juliet Robertson, Mel Mcree, Agnieszka Stachura, Annie Davy, Vanessa Johnson, Niki Willows, Mike Duckett, Hannah Elhert, Jenny Archard, Sally Trower and Corrine Singleton.

My thanks to them all. 

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