A Walk of Art in the Borrowdale Valley

A guest blog by geographer Katy Moore 

walk-of-artIn partnership with the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) and the Ordnance Survey, I am delighted to present A Walk of Art (PDF), the first Cumbrian walk in the Discovering Britain series.

Discovering Britain is an exciting website featuring a series of self-led geographical walks, sharing the stories of our built and natural landscapes. The walks are designed to be fun, informative and inspiring, engaging the brain as well as the feet. Some walks offer an alternative perspective on well-known places, while others take you well off the beaten track. Each route is carefully chosen to tell a story about the landscape, and you can download the route instructions and walk commentaries (in written or audio versions) for free from the Discovering Britain website.

Starting and finishing at Derwentwater Youth Hostel in the Lake District National Park, the 8 mile Walk of Art moves through three centuries of landscape art and explores our changing attitudes to an ancient and varied landscape. Comparing the actual views with sketches and paintings (displayed in colour in the walk booklet), you can consider how much the area has changed, and reflect on how much our modern view of the landscape has been influenced by artistic styles and theories, such as Romantic notions of the sublime, the beautiful, and the picturesque.

You will also see evidence of the dramatic physical processes that have shaped this stunning landscape. Walking through ice-carved valleys, you can explore 490 million years of landscape change, bringing to life the volcanic activity, glaciation, and farming practices that have made the Lake District such a fascinating place to live, visit, and paint.

RGS-IBG Director, Dr Rita Gardner, says: ‘This unique walk explores the cultural geography of the Lake District, looking at how our view of it has been shaped and filtered through artistic depictions over the centuries.’

I hope you enjoy walking, reading, and listening to the walk – perhaps it will inspire your own works of art!

Like all Discovering Britain walks it is self-guided and free to download from the website. You can also borrow booklets of the walk from Derwentwater Youth Hostel. If you want to park at Derwentwater Youth Hostel (Barrow House) then please report to reception when you arrive.

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