Customer Review

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slow and green, 1 April 2008
This review is from: Go Slow England (Paperback)
First impression is what a lovely book this is - physically - an alluring photograph of an old-fashioned bicycle in a summer meadow, framed in subdued olive tones, positively exuding Slow and green. Pick it up, feel its weight and connect with its seriousness; hold and turn the pages gently as all good book-lovers do. Then see that this is not mere presentation but the paper and printer are FSC/ISO 14001 certified for low ecological impact. You are in familiar Alastair Sawday territory; principles worn on the sleeve, backed up with real commitment and action.

Inside, we are invited to Go Slow too. After a concise and beautifully illustrated introduction to Slow values and a few of the well-known names of English Slow such as Riverford and Fordhall Farm, we are then taken on a geographical tour of England. The rest of the book is structured around seven clusters of counties such the expected Cornwall and Devon and the unfamiliar - not to mention unconnected - grouping of Suffolk, Norfolk and Northamptonshire. These seven sections are all structured alike with a clear & useful map followed firstly by Slow Travel, a gazetteer of attractions from gardens and farmers' markets to walks and cycleways, then Slow Food which has short entries for cafés, markets and pubs, and finally the bulk of the text which is Special Places to Stay.

And this is the real pleasure of the book. We are introduced to the forty-eight Special Places across England through the owners of the properties and are shown how they have put their values into practice as well. In substantial and well-illustrated entries we meet families and pets, hear the stories and most importantly, what qualifies these them as Special and Slow places - and can almost smell the hand-made bread, touch the quilt and hear the laughter. These are the true heroes of Slow in England, who are rightly celebrated in this book.

It is not a tome for the backpack or panniers but one for poring over at home: dreaming and planning. And that is what I intended when I dipped back into it for Slow ideas for a trip to friends. This was when I had a disappointment and my only quibble with the book - albeit a major one - there is a whole swathe of the midlands from Lincolnshire in the East to Cheshire in the West, including the delightful county of Derbyshire where my friends reside, with no entries in the book at all. This is an omission to be rectified next time and a challenge to discover the hidden Slow heroes who are surely out there.
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