16 May 2011

Best Wild Places

Written by Published in Book Reviews

Britain and Ireland enjoy a rich heritage of wild places and interesting artefacts, often greatly overlooked in the past as we sought holiday experiences abroad, neglecting what has always been under our noses

The current zeitgeist for ‘staycations’ is changing that, and Christopher Somerville, author of Coast, with 25 years’ experience walking country lanes, back hills and wildernesses, here sets out 500 journeys to help the staycationer on their way.

The fruit of that quarter-century, explorations on which Somerville reveals he has done all his important thinking, is evident on every page. Photographs, maps, information and travel tips abound against a backdrop of Britain and Ireland’s historical treasures and heritage. The feeling you get from reading it is that no stone has been left unturned in any field, path, forest, mountain, coast or glade that the author has trodden.

There is the Isle of Coll in the Hebrides, with a population in 2001 of 164, where one might see Crex crex (corncrake), a shy bird facing extinction in the UK because of modern agricultural practices. And Goss Moor in Cornwall, one of the UK’s most important sites for the stunning orange-and-brown speckled Marsh Fritillary butterfly, is brought distinctively into focus.

A valuable and inspiring book.

Best Wild Places: 500 Ways to Discover the Wild by Christopher Somerville (Penguin) £1

©Sublime Magazine. All rights reserved.