The winter edition of the Landscape Journal will look at the ways in which the ground impacts how we navigate a landscape

The theme for the winter edition of the Landscape Journal will be: The Ground We Stand On.

Soil, rock, compost, cobbles, setts, fertiliser – the archaeology at our feet defines our relationship with landscape. What we stand, walk, cycle or run on has a huge impact on how we navigate place. And how we cope with the terrain at different stages in our lives and with differing abilities says a lot about how landscape is designed and managed.

We want to know: what’s your favourite cobble or sett? 

Send us an image and tell us (in up to eighty words) why it is resonates with you. Pictures can be from the UK or around the world. The more beautiful, the better.

Send your picture and story to commissioning editor, Paul Lincoln, by Wednesday 20th November 2019.


  1. what’s your favourite cobble or sett?

    You are joking – surely? How dumbed down can you possibly get? The globe, human kind and the profession is facing numerous threats and challenges – and this is what you come up with!. Seriously re-considering my subscription.

    • Paving is one of the most mundane subjects, but that does not mean it is not important. Quite the reverse. Everyone accepts that we need to encourage walking massively to reduce dependence on vehicles, and to tackle obesity. Walking needs to be interesting, pleasant, safe and meaningful. We also need to encourage people to cherish the places where they live, and to understand the past as a way of understanding the future too. Much traditional paving is from an era when materials were locally sourced, adding to identity and sense of place, and without massive fossil fuel use. In an era when a cloned corporate identity is crushing sense of place under foot, we should not be ashamed to take an interest and celebrate the character that is still with us. Think of the foot-worn centuries-old stairs in Wells Cathedral and the meaning of sustainable development.

      It is also worth thinking about the amount of embodied energy in concrete and bitumen macadam paving, and the carbon footprint involved in their production.

      In the battle to save the planet, everything matters, including things that are on the face of it mundane.

  2. Guy
    Thanks for commenting on the LI blog in our call for cobbles.

    Later this week you will receive a copy of the climate emergency edition of the LI journal. This looks at a wide range of topics linked to the climate emergency including both personal actions and those that might be taken by practitioners and by the LI itself. I hope that you will find this a useful read. This will also be available online from Thursday through this link:

    The LI has also brought together a panel looking specifically at actions to be taken by the organisation in light of the recent declaration of a climate emergency. Please see this link:

    The edition currently being commissioned includes articles on climate emergency and farming; the history of fertiliser; research on compost recycling; decontamination of soil in the Olympic Park; agricultural landscapes; soil in London; new research on mulch; a showcase of international case studies; a report from our recent conference on diversity and landscape; policy updates and a piece on the history of the cobble to which this call for examples relates.

    I think that the history and use of cobbles in our landscape is of huge importance and relevance. Still common across mainland Europe, the perfectly laid cobble is a standard feature in cities like Berlin, Paris, Weimar and Copenhagen yet in the UK, cobbles are occasionally spotted in historical environments but mostly, any sight of them is confined to corners of a tarmac-covered road. The cobble is a thing of beauty, the result of hundreds of years of craft and skill in both the cutting and laying. The patterns of layout are significant, often indicating the extent of a cobbler’s arm. I think it is useful to know when cobbles were first used, how they developed, who used them, and perhaps most importantly, what happened to the craft and training behind the cobbled street. In terms of sustainability, a 500 year old cobbled street may be one of the more sustainable items in the environment.

    I hope that you will appreciate the seriousness of intent in seeking assistance in developing this idea and I hope that you will not resign your membership of the LI as a result of this.

  3. I think what Guy is getting at is that the invitation for members to contribute significant articles is part of a mysterious dark art open to personal invitation or self invitation by the very few (with too much power of patronage) with no feedback or even communication at all on why some offerings (by those more in favour by the powers that be) are accepted and others rejected. So, on the rare occasions the journal advertises for contributions it seems like lip service: a trivial side issue contribution, just to tick the box, perhaps because someone has pointed out that members should be allowed to contribute more to what after all is a members’ publication.

  4. Whilst I can see Brodie’s point, I think this is a great idea for a topic. In these troubled times lets just take pleasure in doing what we do so well and helping each other get as good at it as the best. I have only received the Vista email today though (21.11.19) so a deadline of 20.11.19 is a little unrealistic.

  5. my point was less about the topic (talking about paving occasionally is fine) and more about the lack of opportunity for members (and non members) to contribute significant articles at all. On the rare occasion there is an open invitation to contribute, we get -1 day’s notice to send an image of a cobble. A bit of a token gesture from the LI towards pretending to be inclusive.


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