Holloway Revisited: Through Dorset’s Sunken Pathways

Author Robert Macfarlane and film-maker Adam Scovell have put together a wonderfully eerie short film adaptation of the best-selling Faber book, Holloway. In July 2005, Robert Macfarlane and Roger Deakin – author of Wildwood – travelled to explore the holloways of South Dorset’s sandstone. They found their way into a landscape of shadows, spectres & great strangeness. Six years later, after Roger Deakin’s early death, Robert Macfarlane returned to the holloway with the artist Stanley Donwood and writer Dan Richards. The book – now a bestseller – is about those journeys and that landscape.

Moving in the spaces between social history, psychogeography and travel writing, Holloway is a beautiful and haunted work of art – so much so, that it lends itself perfectly to the medium of film. Macfarlane’s collaboration with film-maker Adam Scovell is a haunting further exploration of Dorset’s sunken pathways.

“I had become fascinated by these strange folds of land: by the manner in which history seemed to repeat – re-pleat – itself within and around them, across centuries, and by the patterns of echo and loop that I perceived the holloways as somehow generating. Super-8 – Adam’s preferred stock – seemed the perfect film on which to shoot this subject, given its palimpsestic surface and its shivery rhythms. I wrote a text to be spoken as voiceover, which I tried to ingrain with doublings and reversals (of image, word, sound). We wanted to make a film that cast a brief strong spell.”

Read more about the film project here.