A group of commuters have launched a very unique calendar for 2023 – featuring landmarks along the M40 motorway.

The Landmarks of the M40 calendar features 12 photographs of notable sights along the motorway, including the Stokenchurch Gap, Middleton Stoney Water Tower and the Umerslade Obelisk.

The idea to creator a calendar celebrating the M40 was conceived by Michael Lee and Jim Thornton during one of many commutes between London and Stoke-on-Trent.

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Mr Lee and Mr Thornton, who both hold senior positions at VCCP Partnership, were travelling up and down the motorway because the business was setting up an office in Stoke-On-Trent.

The pair said they regularly bemoaned the M40’s featureless landscape and so decided to challenge themselves to find a 12 month calendar’s worth of landmarks any commuter along the motorway would recognise.  

This lead them to found Motorway Vistas, a publishing company, which would be responsible for producing the calendar and possibly others if the response from the public is positive.

Alongside the images, the calendar also features facts about the landmarks and background information.

Herald Series: A page from the new calendarA page from the new calendar (Image: Motorway Vistas)

Mr Lee, co-founder of Motorway Vistas, said: “It wasn’t easy picking the right 12 images.

“We wanted ones that most M40 drivers would recognise but were also viewable from the driver’s eyeline.

“That’s why we shot all the images from the car as it felt like cheating to photograph something miles away to the left.

“We had loads of people asking us to do calendars for other motorways and if this one is successful, we will set up a poll so people can vote on which one to do next.”

Images for the calendar were snapped by Peter Beddow, who is the photographer and designer for the project.

Mr Beddow, who does not own a car, said his first goal for the project was to “try and put myself in the mindset of the average M40 commuter”.

“The photos tell the story of all those little milestones that help keep you going until you reach your goal and celebrate those, which I kind of like.

“I also knew right away the design had to highlight the visual language of the motorway system, the colours, typography, the debris. Seeing it all come together I really feel like we did something that has raised the bar.

“Especially when it comes to motorway related gift items," he said. 

The calendar is available to buy online for £7.99 from motorwayvistas.com/

It features images laid out in the order of a full length trip along the M40 from London to Birmingham and back again.


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This story was written by Sophie Perry. She joined the team in 2021 as a digital reporter.

You can get in touch with her by emailing: sophie.perry@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @itssophieperry

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