The View from the Hill

Four Seasons in a Walker’s Britain

Christopher Somerville,

The View from the Hill: Four Seasons in a Walker’s Britain
 
 
Collected notes from avid walker Christopher Somerville’s treks through the British countryside.

In Christopher Somerville’s workroom is a case of shelves that holds four hundred and fifty notebooks. Their pages are creased and stained with mud, blood, flattened insects, beer glass rings, smears of plant juice, and gallons of sweat. Everything Somerville has written about walking the British countryside has had its origin in these little black and red books.
 
During the lockdowns and enforced isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic, Somerville began to revisit this treasury of notes, spanning forty years of exploring on foot. The View from the Hill pulls together the best of his written collections, following the cycle of the seasons from a freezing January on the Severn Estuary to the sight of sunrise on Christmas morning from inside a prehistoric burial mound. In between are hundreds of walks to discover toads in a Cumbrian spring, trout in a Hampshire chalk stream, a lordly red stag at the autumn rut on the Isle of Mull, and three thousand geese at full gabble in the wintry Norfolk sky. Somerville’s writing enables readers to enjoy these magnificent walks without stirring from the comfort of home.
 


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