What is my Favourite Place and Why?2 min read

// Alice Eaves

// Alice Eaves

YDF24

Ideas and relationships about certain places and locations has become a central aspect of my project with Blackburn Youth Zone, specifically through the lens of what spaces assist us with protecting our mental health and wellbeing. Place and place-based thinking is central to my artistic practice and one I find an important inspiration within. Location plays a large role in my ability to manage stress and deal with anxiety in my daily life. It felt important, therefore, that this project encourages group members to address their relationships with certain places and use creative practice as a way to investigate them.

Last week during my session at BYZ, the group created spider diagrams articulating their favourite places and the thoughts and feelings they felt within them. My spider diagram focused a lot on walking, especially in green, pastoral spaces. When analysing why I liked being within these types of spaces the most, I realised it was because they allowed me to breathe, both metaphorically and physically. As someone who doesn’t like to drive and feels anxious on crowded public transport, walking has become important for my independence and well-being. As the mainstream form of transportation within nature is walking, it takes away the social pressure and anxiety I feel to subsist in crowded spaces.

My favourite place to walk in the entire world is along the River Brathey from Skelwith Bridge into Elterwater and Chapel Stile. It is a walk I have done dozens of times over the years, passing fields of cows, paddling our toes in the water during the summer, and ending up with a bowl of vinegary chips from The Britannia or Wainwrights’ Inn. Whilst the walking aspect of this journey is now an aspect I treasure, it is not the reason this is my favourite place. It’s because Elterwater is filled with memories of Bonfire Night fireworks, pretending to be a Troll hiding under the bridge to scare my sister and red-hot cheeks from the pub’s log fire after trudging through the drizzling rain. It is a place I’ve always felt connected to my family and a place where time seems to stand still. Whilst I pass through the hustle and bustle of cities and navigate the socio-politics of our ever-expanding world, Elterwater remains how it always has. It sits quietly waiting to welcome me back to a time when all I cared about racing twigs downstream and my world was the size of a pea.