Cross City Walks (XCW) is a collaboration between artist Pete Ashton and walker and film-maker Andy Howlett of Video Strolls where we walk across cities in as straight a line as possible.


Over the winter of 2014/15 we undertook four walks across Birmingham.

We used the Outer Circle 11 bus route in Birmingham as our boundary. This legendary route takes passengers through the real Birmingham, where real Brummies live. It is much more representative of Birmingham than the contested and commercialised central core.

We take a bus stop on the 11 route and draw a straight line to Birmingham Cathedral. Cathedrals are often, traditionally, the centre of a city and it felt right to choose this over, say, the Rotunda or Town Hall.

The line is then continued to the opposite bus stop and the route is set. We walk the route keeping as close as possible to the line. This is the only rule.

The hope is, by sticking to this line, we will connect parts of Birmingham that are not normally connected, and by bisecting the city we will be forced to compare the suburbs that sit opposite each other.

And by enforcing this rule we will see things we wouldn’t normally see and experience the city in new ways.

Pete wears a Go-Pro camera strapped to his chest which takes a photograph every five seconds.

Andy carries a fold-out A-Z map with the line drawn on it and tries to keep us on track.

Conversations are had.

We plan to invite other artists to join us on future walks in Birmingham and to take the project to other cities. If you are interested, please get in touch.