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Collected notes from avid walker Christopher Somerville’s treks through the British countryside.
In Christopher Somerville’s workroom is a case of shelves that holds four hundred and fifty notebooks. Their pages are creased and stained with mud, blood, flattened insects, beer glass rings, smears of plant juice, and gallons of sweat. Everything Somerville has written about walking the British countryside has had its origin in these little black and red books.
During the lockdowns and enforced isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic, Somerville began to revisit this treasury of notes, spanning forty years of exploring on foot. The View from the Hill pulls together the best of his written collections, following the cycle of the seasons from a freezing January on the Severn Estuary to the sight of sunrise on Christmas morning from inside a prehistoric burial mound. In between are hundreds of walks to discover toads in a Cumbrian spring, trout in a Hampshire chalk stream, a lordly red stag at the autumn rut on the Isle of Mull, and three thousand geese at full gabble in the wintry Norfolk sky. Somerville’s writing enables readers to enjoy these magnificent walks without stirring from the comfort of home.
About the Author
Christopher Somerville is the walking correspondent of the Times. He is one of Britain’s most respected and prolific travel writers, with forty-two books, hundreds of newspaper articles, and many TV and radio appearances to his name. He lives in Bristol, and his website is www.christophersomerville.co.uk.
"Somerville’s meticulous prose could never be described as rambling, and his latest offering, culled from the 450 notebooks he’d kept during a lifetime of walking, might better be described as a miscellany of magical memories. Faced with the enforced hibernation of lockdown, Somerville turned to the dog-eared, battered notebooks he’d made during 40 years of wandering the British countryside, to revive and re-live the best and most memorable moments.The result, in nearly 150 pithy, engaging and erudite essays, is a literary tour de force, an enchanting voyage of discovery and wonder through some of the most beautiful and fascinating landscapes of Britain. And all this in the jovial company of one of Britain’s most popular countryside writers." — Outdoor Focus
"An absolute delight." — Dorset Magazine
"An absolute delight." — Great British Life
"The View From The Hill is an anthology of tales from the outdoors written over a period of many years. Culled from groaning shelves of notebooks in his study, and compiled during lockdown when all normal life ground to a halt, it's a joyous wander right across the British Isles, reveling in the rich landscape of our isles, and marveling at the wildlife that lives in it. . . . I enjoyed every line of this book. . ." — Hiking Historian
“Somerville is a walker’s writer. The countryside has never been more inviting and this is the book to make you reach for your rambling shoes. It’s a profusion of delights!” — Nicholas Crane, author of Why Geography Matters: A Brief Guide to the World
"From the enforced hibernation of the lockdown year, Somerville turns his vision to forty years of wandering. With precision, clarity, depth and curiosity, these recollections lead us down the pathways of a lifetime." — Nick Hunt, author of Outlandish: Walking Europe's Unlikely Landscapes