Guidebook: Day Walks In The Peak District (Vertebrate Publishing)
Vertebrate Graphics seem to be able to read my mind. The number of times I have had non climbing / biking friends and family visit me and we have wondered out into the Peak District for an unsatisfactory walk is quite considerable. I'm from Snowdonia originally and grew up on a childhood diet of big walks and treks in the mountains so ambling about amidst on the moors doesn’t really float my boat. Although no guide book will ever turn the Peak District into a craggy haven, it has certainly transformed it in terms of an enjoyable walking venue.
Turning over the front cover one is greeted with the phrase: circular routes of 8 to 12 miles ranging from high moorland to walks in the limestone dales. Don't buy this book expecting a list of nice strolls for a Sunday afternoon. 8 miles is a chunky walk by anybody's standards. 20 such walks are detailed ranging from Dove Hole (South) to The Roaches (West) to Bleaklow (North) to Chatsworth (East). They are all shown on a single orientation map early in the book, but as with many other guides I have reviewed I see plenty of room for improvement here. Each walk is denoted by a small red square with a number in it, there is no indication of route length, a simple matter that could be easily rectified with a scaled loop symbol. Furthermore instead of putting an advert on the opposite page how about a table listing the walks, their lengths, grades, and a brief description. It would then be an easy matter to flick this page to make your choice.
Having wittered on about the failings of the orientation map I should point out that the book is split into three sections (The High Moors, Hills, Tors & Edges, and Limestone Country). Each chapter is preceded by a nicely detailed map with each of its walks denoted by a scaled loop. Each walk then includes its own even larger scale map, complete with description, detailed directions, distance, grid reference for the start point, best map to use, navigation complexity indication, total ascent , time, and refreshment details. It doesn't, however, include GPS coordinates of the route itself, something that more and more folk are surely using.
It is jammed full of quality photos which will surely whet the appetite of any outdoor-lover. There is a section on the Countryside Code, a distances conversion chart and a cute key. All in all it is a pretty complete guide book with some room for improvement, but not much.
Reviewed by Matt Heason on behalf of planetFear