Richard White

explorations in place and time

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Honouring Esther on line

How to follow and join the walk.


without walking!

  1. if you have a twitter account log in… if not,no worries!
  2. go to Social Hiking
  3. Social Hiking will ask you to log in in via twitter so click the log in with twitter button. …. thats all you have to do, if you dont have a twitter account it still looks the same but you wont be able to interact so easily:
    1. you will see 3 columns
  4. on the left column, Latest Maps, when the walk is live on 4 and 5 Feb, you will see the current walk with the WalkNow icon and the word LIVE on it, probably at the top of the column
  5. click on the name of the walk and you will see a new green screen showing the line of the walk with little blue icons if you click on them they will show tweets and links to other social media!
  6. Logged into Viewranger via twitter, the map will update and you will see the walk grow over each day, it may do that without being logged in. It will appear as two separate maps, day 1 and day 2. There will be peaks of activity mainly in the mornings, see times below. Please tweet/retweet/comment and encourage others to do so!
  7.  Check out this direct link to the walk on Thursday and this one for Friday

We will be using @walknowlive and @forcedwalks for the main twitter feed

Facebook: forcedwalks

other social media links will be bounced through twitter and facebook

please follow/share/like etc,

use and check out the following #tags  #honouringesther #walknow

you can also follow the walk by following me on Viewranger

draft route map:


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Following the red line in February in Germany

Final preparations underway….following the red line in FebruaryFW routes and stations

Forced Walks: Honouring Esther

Days away from the walk in Germany, unlike Esther we have had the luxury of planning in advance and sorting out good shoes and thermals. We are starting to get a strong interest from the contacts and networks we have alerted in Germany. Powerful and moving  stories and connections are emerging

From Winsen-an-der-Aller we have had news of how a local family hid escapees from a death march. We will visit the memorial there. We have discovered another horrific story known as the Celle Hare Hunt where escapees from a bombed trains were hunted down in the nearby woods by Gestapo, SS and local people. Out of 4000 people on the trains just over 400 were forced to walk to Belsen, probably on the same route we will walk. There are memorials, this is about retelling the stories, repatriating the memory and connecting with the present.

At the end of the first day of walking we will be met by the Mayor of Winsen, his 1945 predecessor was one of the Mayors rounded up by the British to ritually witness the mass burials taking place at Belsen. At the end of WW2 this whole area was criss-crossed by refugees from the newly carved up Europe, that experience runs deep and through it we may make sense of the welcome extended to, and difficulties experienced by, contemporary refugees from Syria, Libya and elsewhere.

Lorna Brunstein and I had a really useful ‘in conversation’ with artist Jon England  at 44AD in Bath last week, part of process of focussing on the work we are making…the idea that in some way we are giving some form to the intangible in what we experience on the walk is strong. Much new work may come out of it but in the meantime it is about catching a live experience and propagating as far as we can and seeing what happens. Amplifying the resonances. For at least the next few weeks and specifically on 4 and 5 February this will be on social media.

The principal links are:
twitter @forcedwalks
facebook: forcedwalks
You will also be able to follow the walk live on
Viewranger look out for the live notification on Richard White
Social Hiking …look out for the live notification on walknow

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A journey to the edge of the enchanted city

A walk from the centre of the city of Bath to a burial ground at its edge.

Bath from Beechen cliffInvolving:

Views, some seen and mainly mine
Demarcations. Lines. More on the Wansdyke

It was pouring and cold. The city momentarily drained of its enchantment. I waited in the absence and recalled presence of the photographic shop centurion by the Abbey. I set off alone. The plan was to explore a possible route by way of the National Trust Walk To The View, view, and on via an ornate but overgrown Victorian Cemetery, up through the woods to the Old Jewish Burial Ground arriving at the Bath Workhouse Burial Ground.
Widcombe hill from Beechen Cliff
I stood on the bridge and looked at the river, a distant roar of the weir called me. A watery enchantment. I walked on thinking about this mix of being drawn, almost without conscious thought, into these appreciations of sight and sound. Thinking about Thoreaus daily walks, immersing himself into this embodied experience of nature. The rain, the sound of the water, the filtered light ….and then my phone rang klaxon. Maybe this is the disenchantment that snaps me out and gets the intellectual processes running as well. Paying attention to my thought AS WELL AS giving attention to the embodied experience…..

K joined me and we talked as we walked the way to the official National Trust view of the city. We crossed a Stodhert embossed iron bridge over the canal; encouraged by its design to imagine Venice, we wondered about its historical connection with Ironbridge and the making of shackles for slaves. Critical talk keeps enchantment at bay?

Passing the former Bathwick parish workhouse, we made it to the NT view and Octavia’s bench. We stopped and, still dry under my waterproofs, I stood steaming. Cold drizzle spattering on my hat. Down the sheepcropped green,through the low cloud, the church spire and the Abbey tower were hard against the grey.

From here I continued alone, down a slippery stair case past the Victorian graveyard at Smallcombe, resisting the lure of its fallen angels and more recently controlled undergrowth I continued up the hill and into the woods. Gathering thoughts on my early enchantment with social media, the promise of networking for information but increasingly feeling it as merely a more active audience…a changing ideas of participation. Developing thoughts of the smart device as the disenchanting tool; the act of using it takes me out of the reverie and embodied experience but at the same time require me to share that and possibly comment on it.

Clashing thoughts beautifully tramping up the wet gulley, pleasure in the comradeship of walkers, I slipped and slide eventually upwards as they wet and laughing stumbled and slipped downwards. Through the woods huge fleshy beech trees, strong sensual sculptural thighs and arms holding up the sky. Shining wet folds, crevices and partings. At the top of Ralph Allen drive I tried to imagine men maneouvering huge chunks of stone on the tramway down, I thought of the carved out caverns underground and saw the field empty and steamy green; nothing left of the miners last circus that came to town to fill it all in.
Old Jewish Burial ground new window
I had discarded my glasses by the time I passed the old Jewish Burial Ground remembering once when it stood for liberation from Belsen I looked in through the new window. Blurred. Wet. At last returning to the Shepherds Walk on the very edge of the city. I saw it all raw. The drizzle drenching me, no longer safe in my waterproofs, water trashed leaves diluted dogshit slurry, I walked through a wet gloom thinking of climate change and the dominance of wealth that does not care. A dangerous disenchantment. On the edge of the city seeing without lenses, feeling the cold rain on my eyes, I walked passed the high fences and the old walls along an ancient path. A demarcation: this is mine, this is safe, and you, whoever you are, be afraid and not welcomed. A territorial tag, a human piss mark.
Official view south
And in this state of mind walked along a further fragment of the Wansdyke thinking of other walks along this landmark and then through a gap and over broken wall into a former council estate. Not so old but nevertheless wet and slowly decaying settees in the yard. The old red brick Workhouse chimney in the distance. The drizzle had stopped as I walked out onto the burial ground. Again I noticed the uneven surface one side of the fence and on the school side smoothed out for a playing field.
W burial gound hips
A rose bush in the far corner, a memorial planting perhaps. Heavy with big red hips each with a rain tear hanging beneath.

In the centre a couple of stone I had not noticed before, unmarked, but definitely dragged there, a memorial perhaps. Or just somewhere to sit on in this green dead field. In the grass a discarded lottery ticket. Someone still dreaming of fortune in Bath.
W burial ground loterry ticket
I walked back through the grim high walls of the old workhouse down to Beechen Cliff for a last view over the city re-enchanted by afternoon sun.