The Observant Walker is a lovely book for anyone who likes to go for a walk (in the countryside or city). Whereever we walk, we pass through landscapes of natural beauty whether to admire the view or wonder idly of the name of a flower. But rarely do we have the knowledge to engage with what we see. When we do, our sense of place is expanded and we discover richness in even the everyday stroll. This book (by an expert forager) shows how to identify the edible species that abound (and which ones to avoid like certain mushrooms – all species should be kept away from walking dog companions).
I walk slowly, examine closely everything I see. And invite those who join me to do the same. Even if you never pick so much as blackberry, I know I have done my job when I hear someone say that a walk will never be the same again.
John Wright (a naturalist and fungi expert who lives in Dorset) reveals the natural history, stories and science behind our surroundings. Join John on 8 walks from forests to wild coastlines (via fields, rolling hills and city pavements). This is a warm and wise read, with helpful illustrations and suggested routes. See the world around you with new eyes – no walk will be the same again.
A Spotter’s Guide to the Countryside is the ideal armchair read for when you’re back from your outdoors walks. It explores 50 natural (and not) puzzles that might confound the ever-curious walker. John reveals the histories of the natural wonders around us, from the enormous to the truly tiny! By profiling the oddities that pepper our countryside, he also reveals the pleasures of spotting and understanding them.
If water meadows do come back, I will apply for the job of tending them, and operating the sluice gates. It comes with a great title: ‘the drowner’.
You’ll discover what the masses of twigs in bare-branched trees (that look like abandoned nests) are. Ever seen fuzzy red balls on roses, or a stranded pond on a hilltop? Or what the enormous bulge is on a tree trunk? John can tell you! This informative, entertaining and beautifully illustrated book, is for anyone who has ever gone outside and wondered ‘what is that?’
Landlines continues the incredible journey that Raynor Winn and her husband Moth take, on healing walks. They take a 1000 mile journey from Scotland back to the familiar shores of the South West Coast Path, via Northumberland, the Yorkshire Moors and Wales. Along the way (facing an uncertain path ahead) they meet wildlife and wilderness, strangers and friends, all recorded in luminous prose. A journey that begins in fear, can only end in hope.
Raynor Winn is a long-distance runner(and writer on nature, wild camping and homelessness). A few years back after her husband was diagnosed with a serious illness, they suddenly became homeless after a business deal with a friend went wrong. With nothing to lose (and only their backpacks), they decided to walk the 630-mile South West Coast Path, which became a surprising healing journey.
The experiences led to publication of her book The Salt Path, shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize (‘an absolutely brilliant story about the capacity to endure and keep putting one foot in front of the other’). Her follow-up The Wild Silence was also shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize, and she has at times been the best-selling writer in English indie bookstores.