‘A special heaven for walkers’
British walking as seen through American eyes – in 1966…
ISN’T IT GREAT when you come across a really terrific old book in a second-hand shop? CW recently did just that when we unearthed The Magic of Walking, an American book first published in 1966, with the proud tagline: “The most complete guide ever published to the joys of walking – for pleasure, for health, for serenity.”
It’s packed with beautiful essays on all aspects of walking by a range of US authors. But the best bit is Where the Walks Are, a guide to walking in other nations – including ours.
“If a special heaven were designed for walkers to go to when they die, it would have to be modelled on the British Isles,” say authors Aaron Sussman and Ruth Goode. “Here nature and man have lived together for centuries in such gentle harmony that to American eyes, at least, it seems that no violence has been done to either.”
After a beautiful summary of the British landscape in general, they conclude: “At the end of your walk there is almost always a pub or pleasant country inn, with a fire going against the damp, a hot dinner and a mug of good country ale.”
We couldn’t agree more. Here are some one-line gems from their whistle-stop guide to the British Isles…