Review of ‘The South West Peak : History of the Landscape’, by Eric Wood

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

THE SOUTH-WEST PEAK : HISTORY OF THE LANDSCAPE

Author Eric Wood has carried out an immense amount of research and fieldwork into the landscape of the south-west Peak to bring a title that does full justice to an area not widely covered by other writers.

Eric proves adept at picturing scenes from prehistoric times to the more recent past, taking us where countless generations trod - their settlements, walled lanes, holloways, saltways and packhorse routes, where 'Riding with the pack train or walking in groups for safety might be a variety of other travellers including merchants, itinerant tinkers and farmers going to market.'

This extensive, well illustrated study considers the many ways of life and labour which have shaped a landscape now scattered with industrial remains and criss-crossed with dry stone walls. The full story covers industries great and small, from mineral extraction and milling to roof slates and bakestones, carpets and silk - and thereby a surprising wartime link with parachutes. Along this journey through history, we meet highwaymen, a blind road builder and drovers whose cattle are shod and whose pigs wear boots. Here a murder stone, there a snow stone, and even a place called Round the Bend!

The South-West Peak: History of the Landscape is published by Landmark. Available locally priced £19.99. (ISBN 978-1-843063575)

Review by Julie Bunting


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