Marking the Land is a new publication from Shaun C Badham and James Ravinet. Conceived as a hyper-localised walking guide traversing a 4.5 mile circular section of The Essex Way, the project considers the radical nature of walking in enacting the permanence of public rights of way through our literal, physical trace in the landscape. With the reintroduction of a deadline under the Countryside Rights of Way Act 2000, the year 2031 will be the final opportunity to register forgotten paths, posing a threat to some 49,000 miles of routes and reinvigorating a new urgency to prevent the conclusive loss of public land and knowledge.
Beginning at Fairstead and looping back through Terling, the route passes several historical sites including 14th century frescoes, folkloric puddingstones and a former Smock Mill. Beyond these landmarks or artefacts, the publication looks to the landscape for deeper meaning: from land speculators and the agricultural depression to early examples of activism to reinstate disused paths in Essex. To be enjoyed remotely or as you follow the path, the project was initially conceived as a guided walk in 2022 to mark the 50 year anniversary of the Essex Way. Marking the Land is published by The Old Waterworks, and designed, illustrated and co-written by artist Philippa Stewart. Supported by the Essex County Council Arts and Cultural Fund.