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11 Of The Best Books To Discover The UK

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11 Of The Best Books To Discover The UK

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Whether it’s the best places to visit, or how to travel at all, the editors at pebble provide the best books to read before travelling in the UK.

Romally Coverdale

Wed 6 Jul 2022

pebble magazine is on a mission to encourage people to learn about their local landscapes. One of the best ways to understanding your local communities, wildlife, and area is by seeing it with your own eyes.

After the wake of COVID-19, we have all warmed to the idea of having a holiday at home. Especially with the love of nature increasing across the nation, many of us are seeking new places to explore that aren’t too far from home.

The books listed provide all the tools needed to learn, share, and empower readers to take actions and protect their local environment.

11 Of The Best Books To Discover The UK With

1. Cornerstones: Wild Forces That Can Change Our World by Benedict MacDonald

Understand the natural world better with established author and Wainwright Conservation Prize-winner Benedict MacDonald’s Cornerstones.

Macdonald goes through all the various ways in which conservation can help stabilise climate change, and how entire ecosystems are affected by just one species. Learn about these ‘cornerstone’ species, and how they may be the key to recovering biodiversity both in sea and on land.

cornerstones book cover

2. Where The Wildflowers Grow: My Botanical Journey through Britain And Ireland by Leif Bersweden

Wildflower plant enthusiast and established author Leif Bersweden guides the reader through his yearlong botanical journey through the UK with the aim of spreading appreciation for the humble, but extraordinary, wildflower.

Aimed at an introductory and accessible read for those interested in the world of the wildflower, Where The Wildflowers Grow explores various locations, habitats, and wildflowers. Shedding light on the importance of protecting, understanding and appreciating our wildflowers, this is truly a heart-warming read.

where the wildflowers grow book cover

3. Extraordinary Escapes: Unique and Wild Getaways Across the UK by Gemma Bowes

Gemma Bowes’ Extraordinary Escapes is a great source of inspiration for readers seeking a staycation.

Listing some of the best getaways in the UK, the book also details all the stunning areas, as well as the history and architecture of each place. Encouraging mindfulness in the reader, the main takeaway is that there are incredibly special places that don’t demand much travel.

extraordinary escapes book cover

4. Nature Trail by Benjamin Zephaniah and illustrated by Nila Aye

A rhyming celebration of the natural world, Benjamin Zephaniah’s Nature Trail embarks the reader on a journey through the often-forgotten wildlife.

Zooming in on the small world that we often see but don’t notice, the illustrated and poetic book lets the reader glimpse at the world packed with animals and minibeasts. The book is an easy read and leaves the reader smiling; it makes a great story for children as it’s written to be read aloud.

Nature Trail book cover

5. The Great North Road by Steve Silk

Following Britain's most illustrious highway, the Great North Road, cyclist and journalist Steve Silk discusses his celebration of the forgotten road’s hundredth anniversary in The Great North Road.

Stretching from London to Edinburgh, Silk recounts his journey of discovering old milestones, coaching inns and the remarkable past each location holds. Considered a humorous and insightful tribute to Britain, the book reminds the reader of the appeal of an open road.

the great road north book cover

6. The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn makes for a mesmerising and beautiful read; after learning that her husband is terminally ill, and subsequently losing everything (including their home), they both set on a 630 mile-long adventure from Somerset to Dorset.

Walking every step of the way, the memoir is a beautiful true story of the healing power of the natural world, of grief, and a thought-provoking narrative on the concept of ‘home’. For those seeking an inspiring, albeit emotional, read.

the salt path

7. Windswept: Walking In The Footsteps Of Remarkable Women by Abbabel Abbs

Abbebel Abbs’ Windswept is a feminist exploration of walking in nature: how famous women like Georgia O'Keefe, Simone de Beauvoir, and Gwen John, found their sense of self and freedom by walking through the wild.

Abbs details how history is littered with women who rebelled against staying indoors, and found emancipation in rural walking. While exploring famous women and their walks from around the world, Windswept provides a thoughtful read for anyone who wishes to stroll in rural land.

windswept book cover

8. The Farthest Shore: Seeking Solitude And Nature On the Cape Wrath Trail In Winter by Alex Roddie

Award-winning writer Alex Roddie reflects on finding refuge in nature in The Farthest Shore, withdrawing from the electronic world and venturing into the Scottish Highlands.

Wandering along the Cape Wrath Trail, Roddie aims to seek solutions to his anxiety amongst nature.

During his short expedition, he finds answers to his questions, but also discovers frightening evidence of the threats faced by Scotland’s wild mountain landscape.

the farthest shore book cover

9. I Belong Here: A Journey Along The Backbone Of Britain by Anita Sethi

Anita Sethi’s award-winning novel I Belong Here delves deep into personal themes like identity, nature, place, and belonging. Described as a story of reclamation, Sethi focuses on her journey through Northern England where she survived a race-related hate crime.

The attack happened in the Pennines, commonly known as ‘the backbone of Britain’, that runs from north to south, east to west. Instead of deterring her, Sethi felt even more drawn to the location and its natural landscapes.

A beautiful and breath-taking narrative of transformation - transforming an ugly experience of hate into beauty and hope - this novel reminds us that the land plays a significant role in how we connect with one another.

i belong here book cover

10. Into The Tangled Bank by Lev Parikian

Lev Parikan sets out to explore the particular ways in which we collectively, and individually, explore the natural world in the UK.

Throughout Into The Tangled Bank, the reader is taken on a humorous journey of self-reflection as Parikan ventures through the UK and encounters all lovers of nature.

From dog walkers to kite flyers, Parikan is inspired by the people he meets on his journey while also retracing the steps of famous nature lovers - like Charles Darwin and Emma Turner.

the tangled bank book cover

11. The Natural Explorer: Understanding Your Landscape by Tristan Gooley

Award-winning author Tristan Gooley demonstrates how it is possible to find connection with the lands that we travel through, even from the comfort of your own home.

The Natural Explorer delves into the work of some of the most insightful travellers from the past two thousand years alongside Gooley himself, with the argument that the most rewarding travel experiences don’t depend on how far you go, but on the level of awareness.

For readers seeking a celebration of connection and discovery, The Natural Explorer provides a new outlook on even the smallest adventures.

the natural explorer book cover

Want to take your understanding one step further?

Rediscover the UK’s natural capital via its conservation efforts across land, coast and sea. Uncover where to find the best forests, coolest eco hotels and incredible charities restoring wildlife and habitats.

Subscribe for free for the latest Sea Change content, interviews, insider tips and book lists released each week until the end of September 2022.

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