Historic Cumbria by Beth and Steve Pipe

Review by Alan Cleaver

bookcoverTHOSE who follow Beth Pipe on Twitter or via her blog will know she loves Cumbria with a passion – and always manages to find out something a bit more interesting than the usual travel writers.

They say themselves they are ‘nosey hikers’ – and thank goodness that they are.

Although Beth’s background is geology, this book covers much more: nature, wildlife, folklore, footpaths and a myriad of other threads.

Historic Cumbria (available in print and as an ebook) covers Haweswater to St Bees, Rannerdale to Walney Island and is illustrated with delightful photographs.

It’s a ‘virtual tour’ of a county we probably all think we know well but their quest for the secret and less touristy side of Cumbria means there will be plenty here for even the most knowledgeable in Cumbria.

Hence their visit to St Bees includes, of course, the start of Wainwright’s Coast to Coast but also detours to the often-overlooked RSPB reserve slightly further north.

And it also includes Clints Quarry – Egremont’s own nature reserve, managed by the Wildlife Trust and home to such unexpected pleasures as bee orchids, wild thyme, and yellow meadow ants.

Their local knowledge shines through and you ‘know’ this is a book written by true locals with an honest love for the county, rather than yet another ghost writer bussed in from London hoping to make a quick buck from sales to the tourists.

West Cumbria gets a good shout with background on the industrial and natural past of the area. But they also take us Barrow, Walney Island, Buttermere, Dunmail Raise and much more.

I have no hesitation in heartily recommending this book.