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

In Search of Houndkirk

Houndkirk Road is a fantastically named ancient highway across Burbage Moor between Ringinglow and Longshaw, but seems something of a barren trudge across a lonely shoulder of moor. My school used to use it for its cross country races, bussing the whole year to the far end of the track and then letting us race … Continued

Bleaklow: In the Bleak Midwinter

Bleaklow is the wildest of the Dark Peak’s moorland expanses, stretching up from Alport and Ashopton all the way to Longdendale, 40 square miles of deep valleys and barren peat plateaux. While Kinder Scout’s tableland is renowned for its disorientating qualities, in truth it is hard to go too far wrong there Bleaklow on the … Continued

Woodlands Awards Winner 2017

Well, thanks to the good folk at Woodlands.co.uk I have recently been the proud recipient of a 2017 Woodlands Award for one of the Best Woodlands Books of the Year for The West Yorkshire Woods: Part 1. It is particularly satisfying as this is a respected woodland management organisation and my layman’s guide to woodland … Continued

The Kentish Coast

The Kentish Coast (or should that by the Old Coast of Kent) is a surprisingly varied affair, combining dizzying chalk cliffs with golden sands and endless shingle beaches. I began at Broadstairs in the middle of Folk Week, but before nine in the morning there was little sign of it on the streets. The tidy … Continued