Walking the ancient Roman Salt Road east from Banbury, a diminutive relic of its status to the west of the town, I consider how property rights and land access continue to define our relationship to “the land”, and hence “this Land”.

A March St. David’s Day wander in the dusk, 1st March 2020
Click to view ‘Enjoy it whilst it lasts’,
7th October 2021 – hotkey ‘Y’

Local development in the last two decades has encroached upon a countryside, already irrevocably changed by intensive agriculture in the last five decades, to a level not comparable since this road was first cut by the Romans two millennia ago. That process cannot continue; it is already beginning to fail.

That ‘failure’ is embodied within this path. Not just the impact of development, but the fact that government grants paid to ‘improve access’ a few years ago, which effectively erected a big barbed-wire fence down each side to corral the public, have actually made it worse. Therein lies a metaphor for ‘progress’ generally.

Images recorded on a walk to pick blackberries south of the town, 25th September 2021.
The music track, ‘Asynchronicity’ (click to download MP3 of music track from the video), was inspired by the rhythms of the walk.

As in Murray Bookchin’s said:

When man becomes an extension of a machine, man ceases to exist for his own sake. Society is ruled by the harsh maxim, ‘production for the sake of production.’

The reasons why this path has slowly been erased from it’s two millennia existence over recent years have far more relevance for our freedoms today than simple being able to walk out and enjoy this view.

How we move through the troubling times ahead has everything to do with our relationship to the/this land.


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