Book Review - Trailblazer Guide - South Downs Way
The growing range of Trailblazer Guides is encouraging especially in respect to walking in the UK. This volume, written by Jim Manthorpe, has been recently updated and now appears as a second edition, which is easily recognised with a clear symbol on the covers and also on the spine.
I have never walked the South Downs Way so reading this book allowed me to explore this popular long distance trail from the relative comfort of my seat on a train commuting to and from work. The early chapters cover background information that might be useful when completing this walk. Coverage is comprehensive, logical and thorough ranging from ‘local food and drink’ to ‘hypothermia’. What is comforting is the fact that you believe the author has actually been there something I think is often in doubt when reading some books.
With all the background information out of the way, page 68 sees the start of the route description. This is detailed both in respect to route instructions and detailed practical information on the places you are passing through. The text is supported by hand drawn maps, which enable to author to communicate the key navigational issues far better than any OS map could do. In fact I think the maps are the icing on a very tasty cake. They add so much to the text offering valuable information on where the path goes and what can be seen as you walk the trail. Limited use of carefully chosen colour photographs adds to the content. The images, covering flora and fauna and local scenes, hit the right note. They complement the text, which is as it should be.
Verdict - another great guide from Trailblazer. I really feel I know exactly what to expect if I ever walk the trail. In fact I almost seem to have already done it - the guide paints a wonderful picture of this beautiful part of England. Well done JM.
Review date - 22nd August 2007 - Reviewed by LJ