I liked the way this one is written. It kept me engaged and totally interested in England and the way things are going there. If it sounds interesting pick it up!
One of my favourite book genres is the walking book, whether it is the insightful comedy of Bill Bryson, the imagery of Robert Macfarlane, the psychogeography of Iain Sinclair or the classicism and romanticism of Patrick Leigh Fermour. From these books you not only usually receive a geographical and topographical narrative but gain a deeper understanding of the society and changes of the land that the writer is traversing through. The object of Nick Corble's 39 day diagonal walk across England was not only to chronicle what he saw but to gain an appreciation and obtain a snapshot of his country post the Brexit vote.
Using only public footpaths he undertakes the long distance walk from the Lancashire to Kent coast during the hot summer of 2018. This is not a book about Brexit, indeed the people he engaged in conversation had often a marked reluctance to talk about it seeing it rather as an abstract concept. It is though always in the background an ever present but ill defined phenomena lacking a fully formed meaning. I have recently read two other walking books that in part cover the route undertaken here and from them all one gets a sense of the sheer magnitude of the deindustrialisation that has effected large areas of the country over the recent past. Factories are now either rotting away or have been replaced by warehouse distribution centres. Tourists have replaced dockers and miners and the only industry left is that of heritage.
Nick Corble is a genial and humorous guide and there are many amusing stories as he struggles against the neglect (much of it deliberate) that is encountered trying to follow what should be public rights of way. Staffordshire heads the list for not looking after its footpaths and byeways. Walking through cities, towns, villages and open country the writer has produced an insightful commentary on how well various communities are doing which range from the just about coping to the just given up. I certainly thoroughly enjoyed the book and hope that Nick will consider further journeys of exploration in the future.
by G Heard