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Review | Wild Swimming: Coast

As someone who has lived in North Devon since birth and who regularly explores the coastal waters in the area, be it through kayaking, bodyboarding or coasteering, I was pleased to receive a copy of Daniel Starts latest book, Wild Swimming: Coast.

After a quick scan through the pages, as most would with such a vibrant collection of images and clear concise text, I settled into reading the introduction from Daniel. I was pleasantly surprised to not only read of one man’s exploration of Britain’s coastal waters, but also of the medicinal benefits of our oceans and a little about our seafaring ancestry.

The book then goes on to explain some important basics on enjoying swimming in the sea, safety aspects and a detail of how to make the most of the local area guides.

From here my initial interest was in North Devon and I immediately turned to this section. In particular the Woolacombe area, beautifully described with an initial description giving reference to Henry Williamsons famous book, Tarka the Otter. This was given inspiration from this magnificent stretch of Coastline which bears back as far as Clovelly. Speaking from experience, the brief guides to the beaches and swims which can be undertaken in North Devon are very good and the descriptive text which accompanies them is both inspiring and informative. It was fantastic to be able to learn a little more about the coastal area in which I live, from a historical point, literacy and from a view to exploring Daniel’s recommended locations. I just fear that a couple of those which are mentioned, and which I currently favour for their peace and tranquillity, may now become overpopulated in light of Wild Swimming: Coast!

Until now I was not familiar with many of the featured areas which are outside of Devon. Therefore it was wonderful to see just how rich Britain is with beautiful and dramatic coastline, superb opportunities for exploration and discovery. It’s long been a plan of mine to visit Scotland, and never more so than now, from taking in the images and text which describe this rugged land so vividly.

For the final pages of Wild Swimming: Coast the author has returned to providing the reader with some general information. This includes games and activities which can be enjoyed when taking your children to the seaside, a brief but accurate description on dinghies, kayaks and bodyboards and even a section on wild seaside food. It was interesting to read a section about coasteering and a guide to currents, safety and tides which I’m sure the majority people would not always consider.

The section about the ocean wildlife, which you may be fortunate enough to encounter, is well written but it would have been nice to see some further information about those creatures which are best avoided! These include weaverfish. which Daniel does briefly mention on page 10, and jellyfish. Aside from this one minor point Wild Swimming: Coast is an an eloquently worded, beautifully photographed and comprehensive guide to our coast which captures the essence of what makes taking to the seas that surround Great Britain such an experience. In what ever way you choose to experience the coast, whether it’s enjoying a therapeutic swim or seeking action and adventure through jumping from rocks, swimming in the waters beneath and discovering hidden coves, this guide will make a superb companion as you travel and explore.

To order your copy of Wild Swimming: Coast visit www.wildswimming.co.uk/.

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