Long was born in Bristol, where he still lives. His work is about walking and the direct experience of nature. He trained from 1966-68 at St Martin's School of Art in London, where several of his contemporaries were busy questioning traditional forms of art. From the mid-1960s, while still a student, he began making walks and photographed the trace he had made (the flattened grass, stones laid at regular intervals) or would simply mark the course of the walk on a map. Later, he began laying rocks or twigs in straight lines or circles. By the late 1970s he was reconstructing these works in interior settings, though the walk remained the basis for collecting the natural material. Long won the Turner prize in 1989.