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From simply posting the odd photograph around email, since 2012 the ‘Rambles Journal’ has grown to document more elements of my time spent outdoors; from documenting our local ancient sites, to monitoring the construction of HS2.
In these pages I reflect upon some of the deeper motivations behind that; as well as tackling some of the most politically sensitive issues such as, “what or where is Banburyshire?”
This introduction explores the background to the Banburyshire Rambles Photo-Journal – looking at the area I walk and why I find it of interest.
© 2020-21 Paul Mobbs; released under the Creative Commons license.
Created: 30th January 2020; updated: 14st February 2021
Length: ~1,500 words
The beginnings of the ‘Rambles Journal’
These pages originated from a challenge – my claim that you did not need to travel 50 or 100 miles from Banbury to find beautiful countryside, to the Chilterns, Peak District or Wales; and that, in fact, Banbury is at the heart of its own geographically unique landscape.
I started seriously documenting the local landscape in photographs around 2010, and began routinely sending them around via email in 2012. I wanted to share the rather wonderful sights it is possible to find in the countryside around Banbury.
In part that's the 'wisdom' we can gain from writers such as Arne Naess – that it is possible to overdose on the 'spectacular', and so miss the deep beauty inherent within the every-day landscapes/urbanscapes around us.
I hope that provides a comparison to demonstrate that ‘The Irondowns’ of North Oxfordshire and South Northamptonshire do represent a specific, special natural environment.
The evolution of the ‘Rambles Journal’
As with any natural organism, leave it long enough and it will either die or evolve.
At the core of the Journal, and what was behind its original creation, is an exploration of what a lifetime spending time in the countryside has given to me: The realisation that the modern lifestyle robs us of our essential, vital sense of who and what we are as biological beings; and the stress that separation creates is a blight on modern society – as outlined from the work of Carl Jung on the natural world half a century ago, and more more recently Theodore Rozak's explorations into ecopsychology.
Spending time in nature on a regular basis, stripped of all those artificial cocoons and distractions, allows us to appreciate those realities and discern how we should organise our relationship with both the natural world and technology.
As part of my work I also get to travel Britain. For that reason, in addition to walks around ‘Banburyshire’, this journal roams around the country on occasion – documenting the many other seemingly hum-drum places that people take for granted around the rest of Britain.
Each photo is intended to encapsulate a moment, and so for each I compose a little ditty that captures the scene; be it prose, poem or complete nonsense. I hope that each opens a little window into the world, and the fun we can share if we slow down and observe the everyday scenes around us.
Most of all, I hope that you'll be encouraged to get out and walk!
Copyright and reuse of images
There should be little expectation that you can control anything once you put it “out there” on-line.
For that reason the images and information in the Banburyshire Rambles Photo-Journal are made available for non-commercial/private use under The Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike 4.0 International license. That basically means you are free to use the information on these pages for free provided that you acknowledge its source.
After ten years of taking a camera with me when walking I have tens of thousands of images of the local landscape; which, in addition to the new walks listed in the Journal, have been used to create resources such as North Oxfordshire Ancient Sites guide.
These and many more (higher quality!) images are available for commercial use via a licensing agreement.
If you have a specific need of a particular type of image, or of a particular local location, please get in touch. I might have what you need, and for a fee, I can be commissioned to produce a specific piece of work.