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Category : Projects

21 Nov 2016

Behind the image: One place, many moods

Returning to a place that has previously impressed or moved you can be disappointing. What is held in your memory as a marvellous discovery can seem, on a second look, mundane. But that wasn’t the case with La Plage de Tronoan. We discovered this beach on a previous trip to Finistère. This November we returned, in part to revisit places we knew to be beautiful, but also as a way of saying a final farewell to our old dog Zola. […]

04 Nov 2016

Incidental monuments

Photography has the power to confer significance on objects and scenes, as I discussed in a recent post. And this characteristic is something I’m exploring in a sub-project of The Layered Land called Incidental Monuments. These pictures take modern objects and treat them as though they are ritual spaces, ancient monuments or perhaps accidental artworks. The picture above, for example, is a platform built to give tourists a spectacular view of the scenery of La Pointe du Raz in Finistère. […]

31 Oct 2016

Sacred Golf

In some woodland, near where I live, there are strange designs marked on the ground. In Autumn and Winter they are barely visible under the fallen leaves. Yet if you look hard enough you can still trace their outlines. In some places, tiny ziggurats climb above the shapes. And every one of these weird formations has a hole dug into the ground, placed in such a way that it cannot be by accident. Are these the remnants of a long-lost […]

29 Oct 2016

The unnatural landscape

What do you find acceptable in a landscape? It’s a somewhat strange question, I know, But not everyone comes up with the same answer. So let me tell you a story. Many years ago, we were spending our Christmas in Cornwall. It was our habit to book a National Trust (NT) cottage as a refuge from that otherwise family-infested time of year. On this occasion we were staying in a cottage by the side of the Loe Pool, a freshwater […]

10 Feb 2016

Ritual spaces

If, like me, you’re a fan of Time Team, you’ll have witnessed archaeologists in the act of looking at a collection of stones or smudges in the earth marking post holes and saying something like, “This may have been a place where they performed their rituals.” And again, if you’re like me, there’s a small part of your brain shouting, “How do they know that? They’re making this up.” But there is way, somehow, that you can tell if a place […]

10 Feb 2016

Pointe de la Torche

The Plage de Tronoan, in the Bay of Audierne, Finistère, is one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. It runs unbroken for something like 26km. It’s wide and gently shelving, but with waves big enough to attract surfers. On the day we were there, in November, the low light caught the wet sand and turned it into a gigantic mirror. At the southern end of the beach is the Pointe de la Torche, a small, rocky headland that […]

09 Feb 2016

Atlantic Wall

The French coastline is ringed with the relics of war. It’s staggering to contemplate the resources the German military put into building the concrete defences that became the Atlantic Wall. There’s barely a beach in Brittany that doesn’t have some lump of concrete slowly crumbling away. Some have been repurposed – we once found a large emplacement being used as a kayaking centre. But most are abandoned and decaying. These remains are the subject of my Dust & Shadow project. […]

08 Feb 2016

Mysterious shapes

These mounds appeared one day in a neighbour’s field. They were just piled-up earth that he left so long that grass grew on them. They reminded me of bronze-age tumuli. Because what is a tumulus other than a mound of earth? Well, yes, tumuli were also graves, but what I’m saying is that there’s nothing special in their structure or formation. There’s nothing mysterious or magical in their physical nature. The significance we ascribe to them (and I assume this […]

07 Feb 2016

Phantom tracks

I love tracks. They have a magnetic pull. You feel you are being led to something. And the more obscure that something is, the better. Some time ago, Trish & I discovered Normandy’s greenways. The voies vertes are mostly former railway lines that have been refurbished for pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and other forms of locomotion that don’t require engines. Much of our cycling is on these greenways, and we’re writing about that over on Bocage Biking. There are long stretches of […]

03 Oct 2015

The enchanted wood

There’s a particular piece of woodland I find myself drawn to time and again. It’s a plantation of poplars alongside a former railway track, now a voie verte – a greenway used by walkers and cyclists. We often cycle or walk the dogs there (and sometimes both). The trees were probably planted to soak up moisture from what otherwise would be a boggy field. A small stream meanders through it. Thanks to the trees, it’s dry enough for cattle to […]