Review of ‘Discovering the Moors and Dales of the Peak District’, by Jerry Rawson and Roger Redfern

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, on 24th February 2003, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

by Jerry Rawson and Roger Redfern
Published by Halsgrove
ISBN 1-84114-194-1 (2003)

At first sight of the book cover, this seemed like an ambitious title, even allowing for Halsgrove's impressive hardback format almost a foot square. Then came the usual preliminary flick through the pages and this showed the promise of things to come, for Jerry Rawson's photographs - many of them full-page - are superb. In his technical notes Jerry explains that the photographs were taken over a period of years. Poor weather conditions often necessitated several visits to capture the special mood and atmosphere, such as the 'magic light around dawn and dusk'.

Here are photographs to make a walker risk the weather in all its moods; a misty morning at the Roaches, the wilds of Kinder and the 'Dragon's Back' under blue-tinged snow and ice, and a lowering storm over High Wheeldon. I remember climbing that particular conical hill rather too enthusiastically on a sweltering summer's day, when the suggestion of rain would have been more than welcome.

Jerry Rawson shares credit for the book's text with Roger Redfern, whose own knowledge and enjoyment of the Peak makes him the best possible guide to our magnificent moors and dales. The region is broken down into six areas with at least five circular walks in each, selected to be enjoyable, challenging and varied and covering distances from around seven miles to more than twice that far. As they stand, whilst graded from easy to very difficult, they mostly require a little more stamina than a gentle stroll - the frozen curtain of Kinder downfall, for example, will never be seen by the less than fit. By contrast, the dales offer beautiful rambles and with a good map it is possible to modify all the walks to suit individual abilities and preferences. Prehistoric sites feature particularly well. Most of the starting points are accessible by public transport, this information being included with each walk together with a map, distance/time estimate, description of the terrain and a choice of refreshment stops.

Whether your preference is to set out with a Mars Bar and flask (Sally Mosley and Alfie-style) or the full caboodle of compass, whistle and torch, this book will not disappoint.

Review by Julie Bunting

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