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News story

Walking away and leaving your mark.

The Wiltshire Downs boasts many landmarks created by man through the ages, stone circles, tumuli and military coded trails, none more conspicuous however, than the eight White Horses scraped from the chalk.  Ali Pretty, a painter of large carnival silks, now a long distance walker, will visit each of the eight Wiltshire White Horses on foot over the August bank holiday in a community art project in part to celebrate the actions of those who created them, but also to re-connect the landscape with the collections in the Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes.

Ali Pretty talks to Andrew Stuck from Rethinking Cities the producer of Talking Walking, a series of free podcasts to download from the Internet. 

Over the last three months, Ali has been working with Digital artist Richard White, the Wiltshire Heritage Museum and Devizes Outdoor Carnival Arts Community encouraging local people to walk to their nearest White horse and record their reactions to it, on sound and image recording devices. The invitation has been extended to people all around the globe to contribute their reminiscences of encountering a Wiltshire White horse.  Using technical wizardry, these recollections have been tagged in a circle around each horse, so that people walking up to it, can listen and watch via their smartphones and tablets. 

Ali has been working directly with local residents (including school children) helping them design and create giant silk flags to commemorate each White horse to be carried aloft on a 100 mile 5 day circular walk around all eight White horses, and latterly to hang in the Wiltshire Heritage Museum.  Anyone can join the 100 mile walk, for a short section or to undertake the whole walk.

Ali’s fascination is as much to do with the landmarks and signs left behind so that others will encounter them - just who were the people who created the White horses and why?  She feels drawn to walking the landscape, saying that “if you know of a place but haven’t walked it, you will discover a very different place when you do walk it”.

Listen to Ali Pretty talking walking -

Date added: 7 August 2013

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