Unherd! Walking the Land

A group of artists and writers gather together for Unherd! Walking the Land events to explore themes of land ownership/access, climate change, community resilience, rewilding, growing, justice and indigenous culture through walks, creative activities, mapping, discussion and research in the landscape around the Marches Mosses and Rural Art Hub. This is an inclusive group enabling artists to follow their individual artist practices or to find ways to collaborate. We are working together to develop longer term plans for a funded project involving the local community, creating both audiences and activists, raising awareness and much-needed hope of arriving at a collective manifesto.

All welcome to join our events. For more information or to book a place on an event email Andrew Howe at andrew@andrew-howe.com

The next event is scheduled for Friday 28th April 2023.

A Spring walk on Fenn’s and Whixall Moss at one of the best times of the year to visit the Marches Mosses.  Led by Andrew Howe, this will be a gentle circular walk of just over 3 miles on fairly level ground of uneven grassy paths and road.  Be prepared for wet, boggy conditions and insect repellent is recommended.  Please bring your own lunch.

Meet at the Shed Yard Car Park for a 10am start, see directions below.  For anyone preferring not to walk the full distance, it is possible to park next to the Marlot at Roundthorn Bridge and meet us en route – contact me if you would like further details.
Expect to finish by 2pm

We will be aiming to sense lost voices: ghosts of the past, future generations and the landscape itself, whilst exploring historic locations on the Moss and the less visited landscape of the Marl Allotment (Marlot).  There will be opportunities to linger and make your own creative interpretations of these lost voices and to take in our surroundings. You are welcome to bring sketchbooks or notebooks for drawing and writing.

Directions to Shed Yard Car Park.
Follow brown signs for Natural England Manor House NRR Base (post code SY13 2PA) along Platt Lane. Pass the entrance to Manor House (on your right) and take the next right between houses and a playing field. Keep going along the road, pass through a gate (make sure to close it behind you), bear left, and you will see the car park in front of you.

Google map

Each event has a different theme with walking and or creative activities devised and led by one or more artists. If you have ideas for an event or if you would like to lead an event, please get in touch with Andrew Howe

We are asking that you pay for this and other events on a “pay what you can” basis to contribute towards paying artists/event leaders, Rural Art Hub hosting, general events co-ordination, documentation, and planning.  Suggested payment £10

We research each walk aiming for safe routes and access. However, we must ask that you take responsibility for your own safety when joining these outdoor events.

Unherd! emerged from conversations started by Andrew Howe with other artists about extending the Mosses and Marshes project and it has opened out to link with other ventures.  We are picking up on some of the themes explored during the Mosses + Marshes international discussion panel in November 2021 which led to the Voices, Values, Actions initiative. Read more.

Unherd! is:

  • breaking away from fixed, established narratives in the rural landscape to reveal more nuanced stories
  • hosted by the Rural Art Hub, itself bringing new creative life and perspectives to a former dairy farm, home to the Willenhall herd
  • seeking to give voice to less heard voices from across the local community and further afield

This page will be updated below to include documentation of the events plus resources and links to further information enabling those unable to join us in person to take part at other times. We would love to see creative responses, mappings or other feedback from anyone who takes part.

Please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of map routes provided below. We advise that you also refer to Ordnance Survey maps when following these routes and take appropriate safety precautions.

Past events

November 25th 2021 – Hunkering Down

Hunkering Down was led by Jill Impey, Kate Allan and Andrew Howe. With the year drawing to a close, we made a short walk from the Mother Shippon to the canal and back. We celebrated our earthling survivors and noticed abundant fruits, berries, seeds and (re) flowering shrubs with grounding meditation, resonant group hum and drawings.

Read more and listen to Kate’s Psalm to an Oak Tree here

October 7th 2022 – Digging Words

Digging Words was led by Joseph Schneider. During a walk to Welshampton and back to the Mothershippon studio, participants were invited to pause on different stages of the walk and respond to a range of provocations and instructions. These invited play with words used commonly to describe the experience of the rural. The improvised texts and words – both writings and readings, sonic and visual – accumulated to form the basis for a final collective performance-installation.

Read more and listen to the sound recordings here

September 9th 2022 – Deep Time

Julie Harrison led this 4 mile walk through the landscape of Fenns Moss, describing some of the geological history of Shropshire and evolution of the Earth through a 4.6km section of the walk. This walk was inspired and based on the work of Dr Stephan Harding, whose own Deep Time Walk is available to download as an app www.deeptimewalk.org

Click map image for interactive map of the walk at Fenns Moss

July 1st 2022 – Rural Utopias

Rural Utopias –  A walk towards Hanmer Mere led by Andrew Howe and creative activities in Hanmer village.

The 6 mile circuit took us from the Mother Shippon to the edges of Bettisfield Park and the epicentre of the Hanmer estate which has had such an influence on the Mosses and surrounding landscape for many centuries. The family descends from an officer of Edward I, and later a supporter of Owain Glyn Dwr – descendants included Tory MPs, high ranking lawyers, local benefactors and they were one of the main instigators of the Enclosure Act which led to large scale peat extraction at the Moss.

During the walk we reflected on what would be different in our rural utopia.

Art work by Heather Miles
Scale, Heather Miles

Click map image for interactive map of the walk to Hanmer

May 18th 2022 – Walking the Land

Led by Andrew Howe, this circular walk of just over 6 miles to Bettisfield Moss, traversed a timeline rich with stories of Iron Age/Bronze Age bog bodies, land seizure by Norman lords, Turbary rights, Land Enclosures, contentious construction of canal and railways, wind powered and steam powered corn mills, fine churches built by local aristocracy, target practice and bombing during two World Wars, industrial peat extraction, forest clearance and finally peat bog restoration and natural resurgence. 

We walked with the themes of access to land and justice in mind

Read more for images and artworks from the walk

Click map image for interactive map of the walk to Bettisfield Moss

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