Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Book Review: "Lake District Woodland Walks"

It takes a lot to persuade me away from lakes and mountains when I am walking in the Lake District. It is such a beautiful place that I am always after extensive views so have never really explored the spectacular woodlands in the area. I have recently put that right with the help of Northern Eye’s “Lake District Woodland Walks”, written by Vivienne Crow.

I have to say the front cover, which features striking green trees and a carpet of bluebells would make most people want to venture forth and explore so it captured me immediately. The book is pocket-size and has a selection of ten woodland walks to choose from. Each walk has a small Ordnance Survey map of the route and then a detailed step-by-step guide to follow, highlighting points of interest along the way and where to look out for particular wildlife. There is also a summary at the beginning of the distance and terrain you will encounter as well as some context to the area each walk is based within.

The ten walks span the whole of the Lake District from Backbarrow in the south to Bassenthwaite in the north and from Ravenglass in the west to Staveley in the east. The distances range from just over two miles to eight miles so there is something for everyone. At face value it is a comprehensive guide with everything you could need. But – what are the walks like to follow in reality? I tried one of them to find out.

The Grasmere Woods walk was my choice. I battled torrential rain on this walk and I have to say the trees provided at least some welcome shelter at various points! I am delighted to say the directions were very easy to follow, even when the path wasn’t always clear (there are useful tips on paths not to take when there is doubt). I didn't need to refer to my OS map once (but make sure you have one with you just in case). In spite of the weather it was a lovely walk that went through rugged oak woods, across the shore of Grasmere and along the slopes of Loughrigg on the terrace, which has views extensive enough to even satisfy me (albeit not on that day!) 
The 10 walks

The book rightly highlights the changing nature of woodlands throughout the year. On my Grasmere walk, the colourful golds, reds and yellows of autumn were still clinging to the trees but I am going to try it again in the spring as Vivenne Crow mentions in this chapter that the woods leading away from Loughrigg Terrace are “awash with bluebells” come May. It is a walking book for all seasons.

With stunning photos peppered throughout the book and with each walk being so well written, easy to follow and really capturing the magic of the variety of woodlands in the Lake District, this is an excellent addition to anyone’s walking library and at £4.99 is very good value.

It is part of a series of top ten walks by Northern Eye books, all of which look tempting.....

Lake District Woodland Walks is available in most Lake District bookshops or via www.northerneyebooks.co.uk
Published by Northern Eye Books

Written by Vivienne Crow

Price £4.99
Follow Heelwalker1 on Twitter