An afternoon stroll, a pilgrimage, a protest walk, a mass trespass, a way to explore, a form of exercise, putting one foot in front of the other, hiking, rambling… there are so many ways to walk and yet so many of us do so little of it. Walking is an everyday activity with extraordinary resonances; it has inspired a rich tradition of writers, artists, performers and activists. This project explores walking on footpaths, towpaths, bridle-paths and greenways as a creative practice, enhancing and deepening our knowledge of a place, forming a sense of connection with a place.
What is Bear Hunting & Other Ways to Walk?
Why Bear Hunting?
Bear Hunting and Other Ways To Walk was a festival about art and walking and feeling better, happier and connected to the spaces and communities we live in. Kirklees has over 700 miles of public rights of way some of which are used all the time, but others are left, becoming overgrown and un-trampled, gradually disappearing into the undergrowth.
We found ways to celebrate these walks, encourage people to enjoy the area that we live in and to use the power of walking to ease the stresses and strains of daily life. We know that a good walk always makes us feel better, but sometimes we need a little motivation to get outside, out of the arm chair away from the TV, and away from schedules, commitments, lists and ‘should dos’ of our lives.
We also know that art and creativity do the same thing; make us feel better. So we thought we would put the two together and see what happened! Mostly we wanted to find an excuse to create some joy and have some fun, outside, with lots of other people!
The name of the project is inspired by Michael Rosen’s award-winning children’s picture book ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,’ which has had readers swishy-swashying and squelch-squerching through the countryside for over a quarter of a century in search of an elusive bear. We hope to inspire and delight people to the same extent, encouraging them to explore new paths and see their surroundings in new ways. A Sunday stroll will never be the same again!
Thoughts About Walking . . .
Who's behind the project?
Bear Hunting and Other Ways to Walk was devised and managed by Rachel Howfield Massey in collaboration with We do.
Rachel is a walking artist with an interest in the therapeutic benefits of slowing down, connecting with the natural environment and taking notice of our inner and outer landscapes.
We do was a creative company based in Honley working with communities across West Yorkshire until it closed down in February 2016
We secured funding from Kirklees, Walking for Health and Arts Council England to develop this programme of events to inspire people to explore their local footpaths.