“Most of what little I have learned about British history i’ve learned through the soles of my feet. Local footpaths are our heritage, every bit as much as our historic monuments”
(Fay Godwin – Forbidden Land)
Fay Godwin remains one of photography’s great campaigners for the land, as well as one of Englands great walking photographers. She was president of the ramblers association from 1987 to 1990 which she originally joined in the 1950’s. Throughout her life she was continually concerned for the well being of the land. She felt that her home country of England was under constant threat from government policies, industry, the MOD and other powerful interests. The collected photographs shown in her series Our Forbidden Land assert her disdain for the privatisation of land. They depict decaying paths, prohibitive signage against tresspassing, barbed wire fences and various other molestations of the landscape.
Ultimately through her collection of photographs Godwin addresses the modernisation and development of land and the local authorities lack of funding to help preserve its walkways and paths. She also reminds us that the land is rightfully ours to walk on and enjoy, however our public right of way continues to be violated. We as walkers find ourselves in a perpetual battle for the land which will continue to be privatised, fenced off or stolen if we do not take action.