Foreword Review — Jan / Feb 2000
While most people tend to think of Britain as urban and developed, the author,
a well-traveled British native, said the toughest part about writing a
guidebook featuring nature was deciding what to leave out.
In covering England, Scotland and Wales, Botting starts in the south (England’s
West Country) and finishes in the north (the Shetland Islands of Scotland) with
detailed descriptions of moors, fens, heaths, islands, woods and other types of
natural bounty. His charming descriptions of his childhood haunts and wartime
escapades add to the delightful descriptions.
Each chapter takes on a different region, for example Northwest, and then is
further divided into smaller areas such as the Lake District. The beginning of
each chapter features an overview, with the author’s recollections, a detailed
map and listings on Getting There, Where to Stay, Activities and Further
Information. The smaller area descriptions are measured on a three-eagle scale,
with three eagles meaning the most “wild” or “unspoiled” areas. After the
description of each area is a listing including Before You Go, which includes
maps to get and websites to peruse and more detail on Getting There and Where
to Stay within the specific region. There are schedules and warnings of
The detail and information in this the book is substantial. It’s Botting’s own
charm, however, that makes this book shine above other guides. His youth in
Yorkshire is recollected; war stories are recounted; and comparisons to The
Wind in the Willows and stories from his own trips give each region, each path,
each beach a personal feeling. He finds the coast near gritty Liverpool
enchanting, thanks to the plethora of birds that choose to live there.
With gorgeous color photos, pen-and-ink animal and plant illustrations and an
exhaustive index, planning a trip through “wild” England, Scotland and Wales
may actually be as much fun as the trip itself.