A Smith for all Seasons

Celandines in the Chess Valley

At the back end of 2021, a book called Walks for each Season (Julia Smith — 9781739986704) was published: I fell upon it in the spring. Twenty-six walks starting and finishing at a station easily accessible from London, matching the routes with seasonal interest.

Thus far, I declare the book to be a winner. Clear descriptions, background interest well written, Ordnance maps (no spidery hand-drawn rubbish here!) and concise but sufficient transport information — the only minor caveat is that the two-page-spread maps disappear into the spine, where they are difficult to read. Also, some will be disappointed that the book is bigger than the bum-pocket-friendly Wainwright or Cicerone guides (I transferred the routes manually to my OS online subscription and carry the route on A4 folded to A7).

I had never been to Eridge (Walk 1) and its delightful wood anemones, nor had I been in the Chess Valley at celandine time (Walk 2 — pictured above). The Ivinghoe/Ashridge circuit (Walk 3) retraced steps I last made 35 years ago, while the apple blossom near Canterbury (Walk 4) leavened a rather hot morning’s walk (hello again, North Downs Way).

As Flann O’Brien almost said, “Don’t just buy this book — buy it today”.

The transitional path between Ivinghoe Downs and Ashridge

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