You can tell straight away that the writers of Walking the Literary Landscape are themselves hikers from the way the book fits easily into the pocket of a kagool. Authors Ian Hamilton and Diane Roberts’ pocket book of walks in northern England visits places which have been the inspiration for writers from Bram Stoker to Arthur Conan Doyle. Among them, of course, is J.R.R. Tolkien.
The walk for Tolkien takes in the countryside around Stonyhurst College where he is said to have written parts of The Lord of the Rings. For each walk the book explains with facts and anecdotes, why the area was a source of inspiration for each author. It then gives a point to point guide through the walk. The maps provided are taken from Ordnance Survey maps so are immediately familiar to most walkers. It also says which OS map the walk can be found in, should you wish to put the walk into context. Other important details like the length of the walk, the time it takes, whether it’s easy to navigate, where to park and where refreshments may be found are also included, making it easy to plan your day.
The book covers some 20 walks of between three and nine miles in length, across the Lake District, the North East, the Moors and the Dales, and the Peak District, South Pennines and Cheshire.
Walking the Literary Landscape has some lovely colour plates and is printed on good quality paper which makes it all the more durable and a pleasure to use. I’ll be packing it along with my OS map when I go to Stonyhurst.
Walking the Literary Landscape is published by Vertebrate Publishing and is available from bookshops price £12.95.