A Five-day Journey

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
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01Marking2009110220100920

In this first part of his five day journey the writer Robert Macfarlane walks the Hampshire miles of the South Downs, in monsoon rain and sunshine.

He reflects on the relationship between paths and stories, and how old paths were imagined in 19th- and early 20th-century England as ghostly spaces of time-warp and spectres.

He considers how paths might be thought of as sculptures, a kind of democratic art-form; and he meets a man who has been on the road for seven years, since the death of his wife.

Producer Tim Dee.

Writer Robert Macfarlane walks the length of the South Downs in five days.

Writer Robert Macfarlane walks the length of the South Downs, exploring its chalk path and its ghosts.

Walking the Hampshire miles of the South Downs, in monsoon rain and sunshine, Robert reflects on the relationship between paths and stories, and how old paths were imagined in 19th-and early 20th-century England as ghostly spaces of time-warp and spectres.

Robert Macfarlane on the link between paths and stories, and paths as ghostly spaces.

02Haunting2009110320100921

Walking the Downs on the Sussex-Hampshire border, Robert Macfarlane explores the poet Edward Thomas's love-affair with paths and tracks.

For twenty years, Thomas walked what he called 'the long white roads' and 'frail tracks' of England's chalk country.

Then in 1916, he enlisted and was sent as an officer to the chalk landscape of Arras in Northern France, with its far more dangerous paths, 'Where any turn may lead to Heaven / Or any corner may hide Hell'.

He was killed on Easter Monday, 1917.

Producer Tim Dee.

Writer Robert Macfarlane walks the length of the South Downs over five days.

Writer Robert Macfarlane walks the length of the South Downs, exploring its chalk path and its ghosts.

Walking the Downs on the Sussex-Hampshire border, Robert explores poet Edward Thomas' love affair with paths and tracks.

For 20 years, Thomas walked what he called 'the long white roads' and 'frail tracks' of England's chalk country.

Then in 1916, he enlisted and was sent as an officer to the chalk landscape of Arras in Northern France, with its far more dangerous paths.

Robert Macfarlane explores poet Edward Thomas' love affair with paths and tracks.

03Singing2009110420100922

Crossing from Bramber Bank to Kingston Down, in the company of the writer Rod Mengham, Robert Macfarlane considers the Aboriginal Australian concept of the 'songline', whereby walking, wayfaring, singing and folk memory become aligned.

He explores some of the ways that landscapes can be sung into being - or en-chanted - and embarrasses a number of passers-by with his own performances.

Producer Tim Dee.

Writer Robert Macfarlane walks the length of the South Downs over five days.

Writer Robert Macfarlane walks the length of the South Downs, exploring its chalk path and its ghosts.

Crossing from Bramber Bank to Kingston Down, in the company of writer Rod Mengham, Robert considers the Australian Aborigine concept of the songline, whereby walking, wayfaring, singing and folk memory become aligned.

Robert Macfarlane explores the Australian Aborigine idea of the songline.

04Flying2009110520100923

The Downs have often prompted dreams of flight.

'I shall lift great heron-like wings and fly...to other points of view', wrote WH Hudson in 1900.

Reaching The Cuckmere Valley and The Seven Sisters, Robert Macfarlane re-imagines the life of the artist Eric Ravilious (1903-42), who was fascinated by the 'pure design' of the South Downs: their paths, ridges and light.

Ravilious's passion for aerial landscapes eventually led him northwards, to Norway and Iceland.

He disappeared off the coast of Iceland in September 1942 while on a rescue flight.

Producer Tim Dee.

Robert Macfarlane on Eric Ravilious, who was fascinated by aerial landscapes.

05 LASTCollecting2009110620100924

Walking the final miles of the South Downs with the artist Chris Drury, Robert Macfarlane explores the sometimes eerie relationship between walking, collecting, and creation.

Vladimir Nabokov, Iris Murdoch, Hugh MacDiarmid, Bruce Chatwin, and Drury's own remarkable land-art sculptures feature, as does the life and death of Virginia Woolf, who drowned herself in the Sussex Ouse having slipped a single, heavy flint into her pocket.

Producer Tim Dee.

Robert Macfarlane explores the relationship between walking, collecting and creation.

Writer Robert Macfarlane walks the length of the South Downs, exploring its chalk path and its ghosts.

Walking the final miles of the South Downs with artist Chris Drury, Robert explores the sometimes eerie relationship between walking, collecting and creation.

Vladimir Nabokov, Iris Murdoch, Hugh Macdiarmid, Bruce Chatwin and Drury's own land-art sculptures feature, as does the life and death of Virginia Woolf, who drowned herself in the Sussex Ouse having slipped a single, heavy flint into her pocket.