Access All Areas

In the summer of 2020 I began swimming (I decline to add the unnecessary prefix ‘wild’ because, as my Aussie friend always points out, it is after all just swimming) in a whole series of new places. Until then I’d assumed there were only two good swimming spots in the valley, both of which had … Continued

The Magic of the Woods

‘In the woods too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life, is always a child. In the woods, is perpetual youth. Within these plantation of God, a decorum and sanctity reign, a perennial festival is dressed, and the guest sees not how he should … Continued

On The Beach

I end the day’s work on the beach at Porthcawl. It’s intentional, but this isn’t quite how I envisioned it. It isn’t raining, but it’s wet. That’s Wales for you. The grey air is full of moisture and the wind drives a fine spray over me. All day long I have hunched over the tablet … Continued

For the Love of Sphagnum

I’m always on the hunt for new ways to experience the moors of West Yorkshire, so when an opportunity came up to plant sphagnum moss for Moors For The Future I was keen to try it out. We meet near Cock Hill mast above Hebden Bridge on a predictably wild day. It’s not raining yet, … Continued

Ted Hughes’ Calder Valley

I’m standing by the twin stones of Abel Cross with a group of half a dozen others. We are all bowed in cagoules as the wind and rain are driven insistently across the edge of this moor above Shackleton. Nick is reading Ted Hughes’ poem Abel Cross, Crimsworth Dean and, while it may be appropriate content … Continued

Hats Off to Independent Sheffield

I have spent the last couple of weeks since the publication of The South Yorkshire Moors trying to promote the book and encourage local outlets to stock it. The promotional side is a black art and something I dread. It mainly involves sending emails into the media void and never hearing anything in response. It … Continued

Memories of the South Yorkshire Moors

I recently asked my Dad for his memories about the moors around Sheffield for my new book The South Yorkshire Moors. I was interested how his experience of the moors growing up in Greenhill in the 50s/60s compared to mine growing up in Oughtibridge in the 80s/90s. Though on opposite sides of the city, the … Continued

The Hunt for Shirl Fork

In the course of writing my books, there are places I end up going back to repeatedly, normally because I have missed something first, second and third time. Chatsworth Moors, the furthest straggle of the gritstone peat moors of the Pennines down towards Matlock, hold their secrets close. While the moor directly above Chatsworth is … Continued

The Brontë Stones

Over the early part of this year, I have been involved in a side-project created by Michael Stewart, writer and senior lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Huddersfield. He devised four great walks around a series of stones carved with new poems about the Brontës and asked me to provide the maps and route … Continued