Culture, Issue 2

Outdoor books

The start of a new year is always a time for resolutions. If yours, like ours, is to spend even more time enjoying the outdoors, you’re in luck – we’ve picked five of the best new books to get you in the mood.

Walking The Literary Landscape

Vertebrate Publishing, £12.95, Ian Hamilton & Diane Roberts

A clever idea, this. The writers have come up with 20 circular walks in northern England, each of them themed around a different poet or author. Many are great hikes in their own right, and literature-lovers can trace the areas and landmarks that were once familiar to the likes of the Bronte sisters, Ted Hughes, Beatrix Potter and WH Auden.

YHA Members have a 25% discount on all Vertebrate Publishing titles – you’ll find the check-out code at  

The Night-time Adventure Notebook

National Trust, £8.99, 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11¾

The newest addition to the National Trust’s excellent 50 Things series focuses on family adventures after sundown. There are some cracking ideas (everything from moon charts and snow lanterns to firelight stories and “owl prowls”) and the book has been well thought out, with a separate section on activities suitable to each season. Another nice touch: the cover glows in the dark.

Wild Guide to Southern & Eastern England

Wild Things Publishing, £15.99, Daniel Start, Lucy Grewcock & Elsa Hammond

Covering wild camping, wild swimming, field-to-plate food, micro-breweries, ancient woodlands and lost ruins, this is an attractive book stuffed with ideas and suggestions for off-beat activities in and around London, East Anglia, the Cotswolds and the Southeast. Perfect for those who want to steer clear of retail parks, chain restaurants and crowded leisure centres this year.

YHA Members have a 30% discount on all Wild Things Publishing titles – you’ll find the check-out code at  

Behind The Binoculars

Pelagic Publishing, £16.99 Mark Avery & Keith Betton

A hugely readable and often absorbing collection of in-depth Q&A interviews with prominent birdwatchers. There are 19 in total, including names such as Chris Packham, Steve Gantlett, field-guide author Phil Hollom and WWT conservation director Debbie Pain. The dialogues cover early birding experiences, all-time highlights and other nature-based topics, with a genuine passion for birds evident throughout. A simple premise well executed.

The National Trails Of England, Scotland & Wales

Cicerone, £18.95, Paddy Dillon

A bible for serious walkers, this 265-page guidebook covers all 15 national trails in England and Wales, as well as the four main long-distance routes in Scotland. There are detailed breakdowns of each one, including day-by-day descriptions for those tackling the routes in stages. And as much as anything, it’s also a celebration of the time-honoured hiking paths that snake across the land. Guaranteed to get your feet twitching.

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