Anna Morell reviews the latest Wild Guides from Wild Things Publishing: Wild Swimming Walks and Wild Guide Southern & Eastern England
Before I moved out of the suburbs and into the home counties, little made my heart leap more than the weekly dip into the Time Out Country Walks books to determine which train would be caught to land me about an hour later on to a platform in or near lush green countryside for a ramble with a group of fellow book owners, a pub lunch, and the clunk of contentment on the ride back home, ready to face another week of the hardboiled rat race.
Kudos then to the Kenwood Ladies’ Pond Association (guardians of still pretty much my favourite swim spot in the world), who have taken the idea of London, train, ramble, and expanded upon it to include swim (how has nobody thought to do this before?), resulting in a truly wonderful collection of 28 idyllic, antecdotal Wild Swimming Walks to counter the harshnesses of urban living.
Each walk reads like a micro-holiday, transporting gentle adventurers past landmarks and historical wonders, through fields, round gravel pits, along streams and rivers and across meadows, mapping the heart-call of blues and greens that sate us as wild swimmers. Inland, and coastal, these walks are genuinely delightful and exciting. The maps and directions are clear, and come with a handy panel of extra info – time each walk takes, how to get there, places for refreshments, places of interest, and some useful phone numbers for the locale.
The book is illustrated with blue-sky sunny pictures of some of the best of the locations- as if the reader needed any extra enticement.Buy now »
Similar in feel, Daniel Start’s Wild Guide Southern and Eastern England outlines the most beautiful places to go and just be, cleverly high-level divvying them up into sections of specialist interest: best ancient forests, best ancient and sacred, best by season, best for wild camping, and of course, best swimming and canoe adventures, as well as then going on to expand on each section by region. A good chunk of the book is illustrated with aquatic, immersive adventures, with places to undertake activities listed directory-style. Both books are beautifully laid out and glow with colour and a real sense of the joy to be found in our land and waterscapes. Hands on and hands in guides ready to be well-worn with use.Buy now »