Mike Parker, best-selling author of Map Addict, is back with a very full, intelligent and witty exploration into a glorious and passionate British subject - footpaths and the history of land ownership. Mike discovers how these paths have become part of our cultural landscape and why, at the tender age of 44, he suddenly finds himself at a crossroads. Provocative, funny and personal, this book celebrates Britain's unique and extraordinary network of footpaths. It examines their chequered and surprisingly turbulent history, from the Enclosures Acts of the 18th century to the 1932 Mass Trespass on Kinder Scout in Derbyshire; and from the hard-won post-war establishment of great National Trails like the Pennine Way to the dramatic latter-day battles by the likes of Nicholas van Hoogstraten and Madonna to keep ramblers off their land.
The story ranges far and wide, to all corners of the country and beyond, and is filled with the many characters that Mike engages with along the way - the poets and artists, farmers and ramblers, landowners and Rights of Way officers and campaigners, historians, archivists and anyone else who crosses his path (or even tries to block it).
©2011 Mike Parker (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
... and the various walking associations in Britain which Mike Parker unravels as he undertakes selected walks around the country. I did not really appreciate how much of a struggle previous generations have had to keep our intricate network open, and how many battles have been, and are still being, fought for their preservation.
From trudging along uber-sterile new Long Distance Paths, to exploring possibly haunted corpse paths, to simply discovering all the paths within 3 miles of home, this book has been an inspiring distraction from my daily commute. And as I am now (apparently!) coming up to the right age to truly enjoy a good walk, I shall pull on my own boots and set off - just as soon as I've downloaded something else to listen to!
I liked the idea but the book didn't grab me at all. I had a long rail journey and expected this would keep me company but was left cold. The reader seems to talk through their nose which didn't really help.
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