Travel: Book of the week

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The Independent Travel
Best Foot Forward

(Aurum Press pounds 12.95) by Anthony Burton

This sets out to be a kind of self-help book for people with time to spare and hills to climb. The book is not aimed at veteran walkers, but offers encouragement to city dwellers with a love of nature whose toes start feeling sore at the first thought of lacing up their walking boots. Indeed boots are a matter for serious consideration: Burton gives detailed advice on the kind of apparatus you need to get away from it all and have a good time without catching hypothermia or plunging off the nearest cliff edge.

I'm the kind of walker who hardly looks at the scenery for fear of losing my place on the map or getting lost in the wilds of Wensleydale. Burton however advises us to put away our maps and guide books and plan "a walk of one's own". In this manifesto for autonomous rambling he takes his "back to basics" approach seriously, setting out with admirable patience the essential principles for map and compass reading. With an emphasis on learning to "enjoy the countryside", he goes on to explain how the landscape itself can be read for signs of the past.

With the aid of beautiful black and white photographs, Burton takes us on a comprehensive tour of British terrain, across ancient burial sites and abandoned pit heads and along the coast, to the "ultimate escape" of the uplands. is not so much an instruction manual as an alternative guide book to rural Britain.