We know lines of desire as ‘desire paths‘ “desire lines” “social paths”. Desire lines are created by people, and animals, as they cross the landscape to establish a new route.
Consequently, these new routes, both official and unofficial, become reinforced over time. They become more evident as people instinctively understand the benefit of the new route, line or pathway. Therefore, the more people that the follow the new route the clearer it becomes.
Over millennia ancient peoples created different routes across the landscape. This dates from the Neolithic, through the Bronze age, Roman, Anglo Saxon and Viking times, through to modern times. Importantly, these chosen routes or lines often reflected how each societal group used and surveyed the landscape and its features.
The form, line, and rationale of a desire line develops for many reasons. This can be due to efficiency of route, taking the most direct line from A to B, or due to local superstitions, and a desire line can reflect the wider context of the cultural relationship of the people to the natural world.
Lines of desire aren’t just observed in the landscape, you can also see them on floors, stone steps of old buildings, they can be found on ancient wooden furniture and on doors where people grasp or rub in passing.
Take a look at our Cup & Ring Bench Pair, a unique mirrored pair of benches made with very rare burr timber timber from an ancient Scottish Elm tree, sculpted with the Pictish cup and ring symbol