A Norfolk Songline on the Peddars Way

"As you walk the Peddars Way you find yourself becoming more and more aware of all the others who have trodden the same ground, whether they be Stone Age hunters, Roman soldiers, Saxon settlers or Medieval pilgrims.

"But remember that you, walking in your time, are as much a part of everything that surrounds you as any other traveller has been.

"All the past that has led to your moment in time is held like a great secret in the landscape that surrounds you."

Hugh Lupton. (Storyteller)

These stones along the route of the Peddars Way are part of "A Norfolk Songline", a multimedia arts project inspired by the Peddars Way. The idea of a songline comes from the Australian Aboriginal belief system, in which each ancient track is the score of a vast, epic song, whose verses tell the stories of how the landscapes and its landmarks came into being. In this project, Hugh Lupton created a Songline for Norfolk, using story, poetry, image and song to evoke the landscape, history and geology of the Peddars Way. Liz McGowan created a series of temporary sculptures on the Peddars Way: she took her inspiration from the straight Roman road and the curve of the land and how man and the land had interacted over the generations.

The visual, spoken and sung record has inspired the design of five sculptures by Tom Perkins that will act as permanent waymarkers on the Peddars Way...

The footprint of our ancestors
Familiar as our own faces
Remote as fossils
Written on clay
And washed away
Over & over
Over and over

Surveyors have made their lines on the land
Trapping Albion in a net of roads
A taut web on the edge of empire

The piety of every man and every woman's whispered prayer
Clasped in the grain of wood and stone & in the grace of ancient air.

From Blackwater Carr to Seagate
Since the plough first broke the bread of land
Pightles and pieces plots & pastures
To every man his stony acre

(A pightle is an old Norfolk & Suffolk word for a small enclosure of land, derived from pig-tail.)

And I being here have been part of all this
Caught & thrown like sun on water
Have entered into all around me

More about the Norfolk Songline



Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson