Peak & Northern Footpaths Society (est.1894)

Book Review: Walking in the Peak District - White Peak East, by Paul Besley, published by Cicerone

Shirley Addy, Editor and Footpath Inspector

This article is from Signpost 65, Autumn 2020

First published in 2004, this is the third edition of Paul Besley's guide of over forty walks covered by the eastern sheet of Ordnance Survey White Peak map OL24. This means no folding, unfolding, flapping or tearing of the map to locate the routes.

The book starts with an eloquent introduction of the area's geology, flora, history and customs, supported by a bibliography. The walks are grouped into northern and southern sections, four long walks and trails, and the three White Peak trails. Lastly there is a route summary table for quick reference.

I get a frisson of excitement whenever I spot one of the Society's signposts in a walking book. Paul Besley is clearly appreciative of PNFS's efforts in keeping a "watchful eye on the footpaths" and its signposts, and one of his routes takes the walker past S456.

About the walks, they are 5-12 miles long with most being 7-8 miles. Each route is headed by essential details such as start/finish location, distance, terrain, and parking, and a brief description of the area to be covered. The route directions are very clearly written with each location or feature to be passed highlighted in bold text. Excellent colour photographs enhance them and items of interest are described but do not impede the flow of the directions. A very useful feature is that each walk is accompanied by an extract of an OS 1:50000 map with the route clearly outlined. I would have preferred this to be 1:25000 but the book's pocket size precludes this. The four long walks range between 22 and 42 miles consequently they are accompanied by two or three 1:100000 map extracts. The three White Peak trails which are on disused railway tracks are given similar treatment as they are 10-15 miles long. GPX tracks for the routes are available to download from Cicerone's website.

For many years my husband and I have had holidays in the Peak District, accompanied by a 1993 edition Pathfinder Guide which use 1:25000 map extracts. As many of its pages are now becoming loose and its routes getting predictable with much custom, it was with great interest that I opened Walking in the Peak District - White Peak East. I was delighted with it, especially with the very well-presented route descriptions being accompanied by an OS map. It has everything I want out of a walking guide. I know that it will serve us very well for many more trips and I heartily recommend it to all walkers who love the Peak District. It will be followed by another by the same author covering the western sheet of the White Peak map next year and I look forward to getting a copy of it.


Next: Lockdown Wildflower Meadow

Page title:Book Review: Walking in the Peak District - White Peak East, by Paul Besley, published by Cicerone
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