Walks in the Footsteps of Cornish Writers

I’ve read avidly since the age of four, so books have always been a big part of my life. I spent my teens devouring Daphne du Maurier, John Betjeman, D.H. Lawrence and Thomas Hardy, amongst others, so when friends suggested I should combine my love of walks with Cornish writers, it seemed too good a prospect to turn down. Like all the best ideas, the simplest and most obvious are the best.

The trouble came in trying to choose 20 writers and balance them geographically around Cornwall with the walks. So after a lot of head scratching, we arrived at the following list. As with all these choices, it’s never possible to have all the writers I love, but here are a few.

Researching my favourite authors’ work was a joy, and while it was interesting to discover more about the writers that are no longer with us, it was also fascinating to talk to the writers that are still writing now and hear about the part that Cornwall has to play in their books.

What all these writers manage to convey is the very essence of the part of Cornwall that is special to them. North Cornwall is famous for its rugged raw coastline and spectacular surfing. While in Penwith you can almost smell how old the land is, how many stories it has to tell: its ancient grandeur makes me want to hold my breath and see what happens. South Cornwall, near the Helford river, is a place of quiet reflective beauty, with sheltered beaches and sunlit coves for swimming. The Roseland is another peninsula that is different yet again, with remote elongated beaches and a foreign-ness to it that reminds me of parts of Italy.

Inland Cornwall is as fascinating as the coast, with prehistoric burial chambers, stone circles and the remains of the mining industries that created towns of great architectural beauty. The other day we discovered a hidden plantation, like the forest that grew up around Sleeping Beauty’s castle. The next week we walked among the waterfalls at the old gunpowder factory near Ponsanooth.

Wherever you go in Cornwall, you will see a different side to her. Which is why I could never run out of walks, for there is always something new and amazing to see.
I think we would all acknowledge that Cornwall is a land true to itself – an island, some say, completely unlike and cut off from the rest of Britain. But there’s no doubt that Cornwall’s charm and magic, its raw beauty and the elemental power of the seas crashing on its shores, have made a huge impression on writers past and present.

I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed sharing the walks, and putting the book together.
Do you Walk for the pleasure of it? if, like me, you want more than the bare bones and dry statistics of walks in Cornwall please add this book to your library. You will find these twenty walks centered around famous writers with ties to the County. Written in a delightfully humourous manner, with attention given to local flora, fauna, historic sites, and scenic descriptions. Each chapter features a box containing all the relevant information regarding distances, public transport, and (most importantly) nearest available refreshments! So grab a friend, leash up your dog, and off you go book in hand.
Stunning views across Coverack
A beautiful day at Zennor
Afternoon stroll with Moll in Carwinion
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Walks in the Footsteps of Cornish Writers Cover
WALKS IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF CORNISH WRITERS features 20 walks each associated with different writers connected to Cornwall. Some, like John Betjeman, have made their favourite places famous through verse or novels. Others, like Philip Marsden, use regular walks as a valuable part of their writing day, and it has been a privilege to share their thoughts. From Derek Tangye’s books based in Lamina to the Reverend Stephen Hawker at Morwenstow, here are a variety of walks that inspired the authors, and I hope will inspire the readers, too.
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