Walking Through the Sands of Time: A Walk Along the Sefton Coastal Footpath

This walk followed the Sefton Coastal Path (a recognised ‘National Path’ – see http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/place-london/plain/A5839121) from start to finish over 4 days (2 weekends – 12/13 & 20/21) in July 2014 . The Footpath is approximately 22.5 miles long. The project is being organised and funded in conjunction with The Atkinson (see http://www.theatkinson.co.uk/) and the Sefton Coastal Partnership (see http://www.seftoncoast.org.uk/). It has been timed to coincide with the showing of the exhibition Walk On: From Richard Long to Janet Cardiff – Forty years of Art Walking at The Atkinson (from the 12 April to the 9 August 2014) co-curated by Mike Collier who also wrote a chapter for the accompanying book titled ‘On Ways of Walking and Making Art’. (ISBN : 978-1-906832-08-7 and see also https://www.walk.uk.net/portfolio/walk-on)

The Walk was structured so as to allow for people without cars to participate, so:

  • Walk one started at Waterloo Station and ended at Hightown Station – 4.4 miles
  • Walk two started at Hightown Station and ended at Freshfield Station – 4.7 miles
  • Walk three started at Freshfield Station and finished at Ainsdale Station – 4.4 miles
  • Walk four started at Ainsdale Station and finished at the RSPB Centre at Marshside, Southport
    (http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/m/marshside/) – 4.7 miles

Walk leaders – Mike Collier, (www.mikecollier.eu) Tim Collier (http://www.timcollierphotography.com/) who is a professional wildlife photographer), a natural historian (John Dempsey from the Sefton Coastal Partnership Scheme), a sound/video artist (Rob Strachan – see http://www.liv.ac.uk/music/staff/robert-strachan/) and poet Jake Campbell (see http://jakecampbell1988.blogspot.co.uk/). Tim Collier took photographs of the walk and passed on some of his knowledge to participants who brought their own cameras. Similarly, Rob Strachan our sound/video artist, was happy to let poeple listen to the soundscapes on the walk through headphones using his audio equipment and poet Jake Campbell talked to people about how he ‘fashions’ words and poems and at a number of points on the walk he read some of his poems. All four artists are currently working on a film, a series of photographs and poems about the project to be seen in the Atkinson’s exhibition Sea Change which opens on 23rd August 2014.

The title for the project was inspired by Phil Smith’s excellent book, The Sands of Time and our thanks to him for letting us use this reference. Anyone at all interested in the walk, or in the natural (and social) history of the Sefton Coast are encouraged to read The Sands of Time – please click here for further information about where to buy it.

This project has been made possible with support from HLF; the Atkinson and the Sefton Coastal Partnership Scheme

The images above and below are by Tim Collier. For more images and commentary by Tim, please click here. To read three new poems by Jake Campbell, please click on the poem’s title to download the PDFs of the work: Siegfried Sassoon at Formby; Elegy for Bert Trautmann and Bootle Organ more poetry, prose and images by Jake, please click here.