Top critical review
52 people found this helpful
All style and not much content
on 13 September 2011
This book is undoubtedly beautifully produced with lots of nice photos and clear maps.
The walks themselves look to be enjoyable and interesting but I've yet to try them out.
There are however relatively few walks presented. There is a lot of white space in the design of this book and it could have been half the size or contained twice the number of walks.
My main problem though is that each walk is preceded with an historical introduction, intended I assume to enhance the walk itself. These are too short to go into useful detail but clearly too long for the authors' level of knowledge and can be repetitive. The history they present is either superficial, out of date, or in places just plain wrong. There are also too many faux evocative references to how things must have felt in the old days, with no real back up. The books given in the further reading sections are also not the latest on the subject and sometimes even out of print. Maybe this is unfair, as I am a professional landscape archaeologist, but it is just as important to be as accurate as possible in a popular introduction to a subject as it is in an academic debate. The authors really should have made more effort or had some people who know look over their text.
I would recommend that rather than buy this book walkers with an historical interest would do much better to get a general book of walks and do their own research. Nationally Oliver Rackham's History of the Countryside (which to their credit the authors recommend) is still a good introduction but perhaps period based overviews give more information. English Heritage published some useful regional volumes a few years back and Shire Books always provide a good introduction to specific subjects (though some of these are a bit old - check the publication date).