Author Topic: I need your thoughts on landscape and experience  (Read 1288 times)

ublack660

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I'm a final year dissertation student.
My dissertation is "Being Outdoors: Experiencing the Landscape through the Geographies of Walking."
I'm researching whether we are a part of our environment or if we are separate from it- does anyone have any thoughts on the topic? I'd love to hear absolutely ANY opinions and thoughts!! :)

fernman

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Re: I need your thoughts on landscape and experience
« Reply #1 on: 16:07:55, 09/01/19 »
Hello, welcome to the forum. Could you please explain what you mean by "the Geographies of Walking", which is something I cannot comprehend.

KimE

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Re: I need your thoughts on landscape and experience
« Reply #2 on: 20:47:31, 09/01/19 »
In the 1800s a British writer invented the nature as a place to visit before what no one had thought we could be out of our invironment. Or can we?

fit old bird

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Re: I need your thoughts on landscape and experience
« Reply #3 on: 21:22:34, 09/01/19 »
Completely baffled, sorry.   :-\   ???   :-[


ilona

BuzyG

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Re: I need your thoughts on landscape and experience
« Reply #4 on: 22:22:29, 09/01/19 »
We are simply passing through.  Each here for a fleating moment in the scheme of things.  Combined though, we have already demonstrated the  power to change it beyond recognition, for better or worse Whether we do is our choice.

fernman

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Re: I need your thoughts on landscape and experience
« Reply #5 on: 10:24:23, 10/01/19 »
Here is a copy of something I wrote over twenty years ago:

I feel a great sense of awe as I sit on a rock by my little tent, and survey a vast panorama of soaring slopes of green vegetation and grey stone, with the shadows of clouds moving over them, and sprinkled with little off-white dots that are distant sheep, while the wind, repeatedly bending nearby grasses, carries little sound save that of trickling springs and the distant roar of falling water. I become aware of the great age of the landscape, of the geological forces, the ice ages and the weather that shaped it, and of the generations past that tried to wrest a living in this harsh land, leaving the stone walls, old quarries and derelict homesteads as evidence of their presence. This landscape was here hundreds and hundreds of years before I came into existence, and it will still be here when my three score years and ten is over. Who knows how many before me might have sat on the same stone and contemplated the same view, and how many might follow in the future? It brings home to me just what mere specks in the universe we humans are.

barewirewalker

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Re: I need your thoughts on landscape and experience
« Reply #6 on: 13:14:04, 10/01/19 »
Before a friend of my wife lost her husband, they had helped a friend through a very difficult grieving and held that walking was a significant process that aided the grieving process. This continued with her own loss and I think I have helped her to understand terrain, see more and interact with the landscape. Some of this I have done by broadening my wife's experience and she has passed this to her friend.

Now she despairs with some of the walking groups she goes out with as all they seem to do is have an ambulatory chatter session, but everyone to there own, some people might curse the puddles, because they slow them down, others will be fascinated by there shapes and others may argue with me that puddles are not landscape.

If you can walk 20 miles you may be able to walk into the perception most people have of landscape, but when you get there there is no fixed point and the landscape is different, what have you experience on the way. Unless you understand the terrain, you will not know what I am talking about. But if stand 2,3 say 5 miles from Snowdon and walk to the top you will know what you have done, some will be impressed but will you have had more or less experience.


People need the countryside, it helps sanity, it can de-stress this is done in a manner ways, but your dissertation specifies walking and it should be the cheapest form of exercise an unfit population can take, do you hop on a bus ride to the city limits and walk away, when you look back you have landscape, does one feel relief when sitting on Hampstead Heath looking over that skyline or is the softer images of say Waterlow Park better value, how many understand when they walk in Highgate Wood that they are in one of the oldest Hornbeam Forests, yet scour the Welsh Marches and you will be lucky to find a single mature Hornbeam.
As spring comes on us the red purple glow that comes of the canopy of mass Alder is part on a landscape, missed by those who look for the stuff they don't like.


And then there are secret places, still landscapes, if you can see them. You may find them yourself but you are young and have the time to find them, perhaps you might ask someone and be surprised. Once when I recognized one of these places, because I knew it was special. I talked to local smallholder nearby and learnt his father and mother would go there often through their lives, because it was where his father proposed to his mother, he added with a wry smile, "I could have been conceived there".

If you get the perspective to create the image, the social or historical knowledge and have the imagination to fill in the picture then I think you might be on the way to finding some understanding of part of the Geography of walking.





« Last Edit: 13:17:22, 10/01/19 by barewirewalker »
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

Innominate Man

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Re: I need your thoughts on landscape and experience
« Reply #7 on: 16:19:31, 10/01/19 »
Well, they say there is a book in everyone ....... and some of these replies stand testimony to that.
No simple " I like to get my boots muddy and sniff the fresh air " here. Well done all, some great philosophies expressed.
As for being a part of or separate from the environment, it depends upon the individual. My guess is that by the nature of the captive audience here, the former is the case.
You get the distinct impression that many people, due to all manner of social/financial & educational reasons (and many other influences) never have the opportunity & delight of feeling part of it. That makes me quite sad as everyone should have the chance to experience what we are really part of.
Maybe that lack of connection to the bigger 'place' is why many have no respect or regard for it and exhibit behaviour that is destructive, be it dropping chewing gum on the pavements, smashing up a bus shelter or damaging trees ....... why otherwise, would you damage something that is yours and that is part of you.
Doesn't this reflect (in a simple way) the statement/cliche about stardust ?  That we are all made of the same particles as stars (I don't know the science) and whatever is in us, would be found on them. So yes, we are part of the environment - physically and emotionally: It's just that some have the selector switch set on pause.

Only a hill but all of life to me, up there between the sunset and the sea. 
Geoffrey Winthrop Young

ublack660

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Re: I need your thoughts on landscape and experience
« Reply #8 on: 17:32:06, 11/01/19 »

Sorry it is a little vague, I've just gotten so used to using the terms in the last few months that I just throw them out with little to no explanation, so sorry!!
What I'm trying to ask is,
     when you're walking in a new or familiar place, how do you feel- emotionally, where does walking take you? And then with that emotion, do you feel like you're a part of the landscape you're in or is it just somewhere to be.


So, for instance, when I'm having a bad day- I walk out to a mountainous place in the Antrim hills, to a bridge that crosses a river and into the forestry and I'll sit out there and just think and explore until my bad day doesn't seem bad anymore and I'll come home with a fresh mind and outlook.  Because this landscape I take myself to improves my mood, mind and mentality so greatly, I argue that I am a part of my landscape, more so than thinking of it as an object to me.


I hope that's kind of made my question a bit clearer? It's a bit of a philosophical topic to begin with so it's hard to clearly explain??

ublack660

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Re: I need your thoughts on landscape and experience
« Reply #9 on: 17:33:33, 11/01/19 »
Thank you so much everyone, I absolutely love this input!!

barewirewalker

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Re: I need your thoughts on landscape and experience
« Reply #10 on: 12:29:33, 12/01/19 »
  when you're walking in a new or familiar place, how do you feel- emotionally, where does walking take you? And then with that emotion, do you feel like you're a part of the landscape you're in or is it just somewhere to be.
 It's a bit of a philosophical topic to begin with so it's hard to clearly explain??
Perhaps the difficulty you have in try to find a reason to explain, is that there to much introspection in your approach. Alright if you are an American with a shrink obsession, but perhaps not quite the baseline to start from for a final year dissertation.
You have perhaps put the clue to a solution in your title for your dissertation.

My dissertation is "Being Outdoors: Experiencing the Landscape through the Geographies of Walking."
 

If I can remember far enough back to my formal education Geography is the Study of the interaction of population with the earth and planets. No you are placing a personal emotion direction, widen it and the expand a bit. When I was on my counties LAF we had an address by the head of the Chief Medical Officer, in essence the message was; Those furthering means of practical access to the countryside are in the the forefront of the battle to of the nation's health.

What is the history of the post of CMOs. It goes back to the the movement of population into cities and the need for statistics to record accurate cause of death.
With the rise in the importance recognizing the significance of mental health with our population, perhaps your dissertation might be broadened and you may find your answers.

The Geography of walking is little studied, the fact that those occupying the countryside as represented the CLA publishers of a national policy on access, which was totally based of innuendo from a dissatified membership, rather than proper studies of population, economics, modern trends ad infinitum may actually help you realize how you are rather lucky to take your own emotional problems into the Antrim Hills
.
I was lucky, a fascination with rock climbing giving me the motivation to get into the hills of Snowdonia, helped me through the first major emotional trauma of my adolescence. 55years later I can reflect that I had a lucky escape, this with no recourse to a Health Service, counselors etc.

« Last Edit: 12:34:54, 12/01/19 by barewirewalker »
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

ublack660

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Re: I need your thoughts on landscape and experience
« Reply #11 on: 23:07:37, 12/01/19 »

I appreciate your feedback on my topic title but I'm actually extremely fond of it; it is the envy of many of my classmates and intrigue of the academics I'm working with within my university, it's a different and vibrant title that suits me right down to the ground.


barewirewalker

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Re: I need your thoughts on landscape and experience
« Reply #12 on: 11:45:43, 13/01/19 »
UBlack, Please do not take my post as a criticism of the title you have chosen. In fact I think it is very far sighted to have used the term Geographies of walking, I doubt the there are many on this forum that can grasp how important and serious a study in this mode could be.

Last year I traveled over to Sheffield for a family funeral, the step cousin, who had died had been a librarian at the university, with particular interest in maps. I had the chance to talk to a retired Principle, who had headed a geography faculty. I believe that Sheffield is a leading University in this field because of it's collection of maps. I put to him that there is insufficient study in the 'Geography of Walking' or if broadened 'The Geography of Public Access'.

I will not obscure the topic, why it is better to focus on the former, but he and I found much common ground in our conversation.

Personal emotional journey's are very much at the heart of the individual experience with the countryside, but is the countryside open to all to find solace, regeneration of spirit and self worth. If you compare your experiences with those of others in different locations, you may get a deeper understanding for your own questions.

In my own instance at the ages from 19 to 21 years, I could only see this in the broad vistas of Snowdonia, Ben Nevis and Chamonix, yet I had total freedom of a 1000 acres of lowland farmland, where there were special places solace, hidden viewpoints of uplifting panoramas and reasons to reach challenging destinations. It just takes a little more vision to recognize and age does bring with more understanding.
I hope you continue to intrigue your academics, stoke the envy of your classmates with surprise. Best of Luck.
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

Doddy

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Re: I need your thoughts on landscape and experience
« Reply #13 on: 10:59:40, 14/01/19 »
When I am holed up in my little tent I feel part of nature with wildlife nearby and wonderful views. As I walk along I am able to identify plants, fungi, watch attentively butterflies, moths, and the weather. As the OP will know here are studies and evidence that woodlands can de-stress.

GinAndPlatonic

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Re: I need your thoughts on landscape and experience
« Reply #14 on: 12:20:08, 14/01/19 »
I'm a final year dissertation student.
My dissertation is "Being Outdoors: Experiencing the Landscape through the Geographies of Walking."
I'm researching whether we are a part of our environment or if we are separate from it- does anyone have any thoughts on the topic? I'd love to hear absolutely ANY opinions and thoughts!! :)
I believe we can never separate ourselves emotionally from our environment, whatever that environment is. Maybe some do not feel part of it but I`m sure it always has an effect on our feelings. Some feeling may be positive & some negative.I believe that if we walk, then it is hopefully to gain positive vibes from the landscape. That is why I do it. It is difficult to physically separate ourselves too, even by layering up and using waterproofs. We always sooner or later experience the cold or the wet. :o Then when we return to the comfort of our home we take a little bit of the environment there with us, in our thoughts and also physically in a way with endorphins plus that mud on our boots that personally gives me the satisfaction of knowing I have done a few miles with only my now, aching legs to propel me.