Out for a walk : pedestrian practices & British preservationism, c.1850 - 1950

  • Jamie Hinrichs

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)


This thesis evaluates the connections between rural walking, modernity, and preservationism in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Britain. During this period, the expressed practices of rural walking were overt responses to change. Adherents of rural walking used this bipedal gesture to limit the latitude of efficiency, espouse collectivism, remedy prevailing illnesses, participate in modern applications of empiricism, and overcome contemporary spiritual challenges. They also indicated that engagement with undeveloped areas was fundamental to the benefits and functions of walking. Due to this interconnection of walking with a particular type of environment, the reasons why walkers walked fortified justifications for preserving rural environments. Although walking is an activity that has long been used to engage the natural world, its ubiquity as an everyday movement of the body has resulted in its under-representation in historical inquiry. This intellectual-environmental history demonstrates that much can be discovered about human relationships with rural environments, and efforts to preserve them, by evaluating walking historically.
Date of Award2 Dec 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorJohn Finlay Mcdiarmid Clark (Supervisor)


  • Walking
  • Environmental history
  • Preservationism
  • Britain
  • England
  • Scotland
  • Footpaths
  • Rights of way
  • Area access
  • Nineteenth century
  • Twentieth century

Access Status

  • Full text embargoed until
  • 12th November 2025

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