Reading List


Walking needs no introduction; it's some form of spending time in the outdoors, be that a hike or sitting on a bench as suits your needs. A good walking collection is, in truth, books of local walks, OS maps, books teaching skills like foraging and compass-reading, books about the place you live (history, culture and nature).

The Footpath Way: An Anthology for Walkers (1911) - Hilaire Belloc, H.D. Thoreau, et al


Book | Free on Project Gutenberg, and pleasant enough: an anthology of Victorian writers writing about walking, a mix of travel and philosophic non-fiction, plus some picturesque selections from fiction. Not worth your time to look out unless you are looking for something very sedate. Thoreau's chapter (also published as Walking) is especially troubling. Frequently quoted as a prophet of the wild by people who only know him through quotations, his Walking swoops from a nicely written celebration of both walking and wilderness, to an incoherent defense of white colonial expansion across America. Bad vibes. Anyway, it's free; and sometimes, it's nice to read a book as dull as dishwater.

The Modern Antiquarian (2000) - Julian Cope


Serial | I have no idea what I just watched. Cope is a musician, and this is a documentary of his roadtrip across Britain to visit stone circles and megaliths. When he gets there, he kind of stands there and says what he thinks about them. Are there ley lines? Absolutely. It's very chill, and apparently the accompanying guidebooks (on British and Europe megaliths) are really rather good, this same mix of facts and opinion, underpinned by a sort of infectious enthusiasm. A good choice if you are also planning a road trip. It's definitely part of the crusty/stoneweird tradition, so it goes on the list, but I wouldn't prioritise it.

✪ Smith of Wootton Major (1967) - J.R.R. Tolkien


Book | One of my top recommendations for Tolkien! A short story, available in various Tolkien short story collections. Quietly magical, and all about the virtue of walking - and the strange places you stray to - written at the borderlands of Middle Earth and faerie.

Weird Walk Zine -


Book | Wonderful (but hard to get hold of) quarterly magazine, promoting walking in the weird places of Britain. Prog morris, acid folk, and trips to creepy pubs. Lovely! I really could not recommend this more strongly. Weird Walk is a small press release, and lives and dies by its readers support; order some if you are able. Weird Walk back-issues evoke the experience of walking on the days I am bedbound, and leads me into daydreaming. Learn more