Review | Wild guide
Following on from the excellent Wild Swimming: Coast, we were keen to delve into the glossy pages of this equally well presented book, from the same publisher.
It's strapline is Hidden Places, Great Adventures and the Good Life. And where better to experience such delights as Devon, Cornwall and the South West.
The regional overview, a map found within the first few pages, is a great way to navigate yourself across the landscape. Clearly defined and broken down into the counties of Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset, with its specific and recommended areas of discovery then listed with chapter and page numbers for easy reference.
Naturally we headed to Devon, instinctively drawn to its rugged cliffs to the North, rocky tors of Dartmoor and the sand and shingle shoreline to the South.
However, before you head off into the wilds on your own adventure, we highly recommend reading the chapter on being both safe and responsible in nature. Some great tips, which can so easily be forgotten, such as where to have a fire and only using biodegradable soap if you wash in rivers or streams; as well as the more obvious ones in safety equipment and keeping dogs under control.
An initial highlight is a brief introduction of the best places to find some of the most desired locations. For example, where to find secret beaches, travelling the coast, rivers and estuaries by canoe or kayak, discovering caves and caverns and which areas are perfect for wild camping. Even through this initial chapter we can see how the South West of England offers some of the finest places in the country for adventurers - and those with an adventurous spirit.
Our journey across Devon begins in Hartland and the Torridge. The dramatic shoreline, rivers cascading and waterfalls washing over cliffs. Here you will find a list of all the places to see and experience and a brief overview, directions, grid references and the timescale to reach and complete them. Colourful images and clearly defined maps to guide and help you on your way.
We enter North Devon and the list continues. Where to eat fresh, local food, to wild camp and discover ancient woodlands and trails.
Whether you live in Devon and are looking for some hidden locations you have yet to discover or you are visiting and looking for practical advice and direction, it's easy to be drawn into the book. The ideal place to plan your next adventure.
Moving away from Devon and turning back to the first few chapters of the book we discover Penwith and Scilly, captivating and a place I long to discover, personally.
Into Cornwall and the Lizard, delve into one of the UK's most dramatic sea caves and if you're lucky, watch basking sharks glide effortlessly through the clear waters.
We move up through Cornwall, across Fowey and Looe. Here you can paddle the Tamar by kayak, cycle along a forest earthwork built by a Celtic warlord or jump from a 30 metre cliff at the appropriately names, Adrenaline Quarry.
Each chapter starts with "the perfect weekend" which is a brilliant way to captivate and inspire some fantastic experiences and if you're short on time and want to plan the ideal two-day break, where better to start.
Passing through the section on Devon, we reach Dartmoor - the only place in England where it is legal to wild camp. Such a vast area is broken down between Southwest Dartmoor, Northwest and Northeast. Barren moorland and heath, the granite tors and open water swimming. It offers so much potential for outdoor pursuits and extreme sports, whether it's hiking, mountain biking, horse riding or travelling the waters by canoe.
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