Hardy and ‘AW’…
Two men who were brilliant at conveying the power of the English landscape dominate this issue. But Alfred Wainwright (known as ‘AW’) and Thomas Hardy couldn’t be more different. Hardy used landscape as
an extra – often forbidding – character in his books. In his hands, the coombes, downs and heaths of Wessex are places of both jeopardy and joy and are just as influential as his human characters in driving the plot, as our own Maria Hodson found while exploring the key sites that inspired his most romantic novel, Far From
the Madding Crowd. Read her guide to Hardy country on page 64. Wainwright could be said to be the opposite of Hardy – he was drawn to the wild and rugged and his books are a delightful invitation to walk with him through country that in Hardy’s time might be dismissed as wasteland. How things change. Appropriately, we sent the winner of the inaugural Wainwright prize for travel and nature writing Hugh Thomson to explore Wainwright’s heartland – the Lake District’s Western Fells that captivated the great man beyond all else. Walk with Hugh in AW’s footsteps on page 18.
As summer arrives, it’s frustrating to be chained to a desk on a warm June day with all that countryside crying out to be explored. So we’ve gathered some heartening ideas for enjoying evenings outdoors after work. From spotting glow worms (p50) to listening to nightjars (p71 onwards), let’s make the most of the long days and go roaming in the gloaming this month!
Fergus Collins, email@example.com