It was with great interest that I picked up a copy of one of the latest books to come out of the CAMRA (CAMpaign for Real Ale) bookshop. As a beer drinker and someone who loves the area I live in, it was the perfect book for me to read! Written by Bob Steel, beer enthusiast and author of the popular London Pub Walks, Peak District Pub Walks is a pocket-sized guide to some of the best pubs and walks in the Peak District. The book features 25 walks of varying lengths and levels; all with ONE thing in common – the offer of a few decent pints of Real Ale on the way!
As well as interesting walks, the guide also offers useful information on local pubs and breweries and explores local history, heritage and attractions. Peak District Pub Walks has easy to use Ordnance Survey maps, cycle routes, bus information and pub listings. These pub listings are really good because they are complete with opening hours and meal serving times; in fact, everything you could need to experience a great day out in our beautiful countryside….with a beer thrown in for good measure!
The book is well presented in full colour, with stunning photographs of the local landscape. There are also some pictures of pretty stunning pubs too! On opening, you will find the book is divided into sections. It starts with a useful overview, about how to use the guide and how to get the most from reading and using it. Before you get to the actual walks themselves there follows a brief introduction, followed by features about Peak District pubs, local breweries, historic pub interiors and walking safety. All are well written and interesting – not just for people with local knowledge either because they are also aimed at visitors to the area.
The main body of the book covers the 25 featured walks. These are spilt into handy areas – ideal for if you are staying in or visiting a particular region of the Peak District. Each section contains two or three routes to walk, each one prefaced by a map, length of walk, difficulty level, etc. The map also highlights which pubs you can call in on route and the following text describes each walk in detail, giving some historic information and tells the reader of some sights they will see on the way. At the end of each walk you will find a list of the pubs, with relevant information – there is also a useful “Try Also” section, showing any other noteworthy pubs en route.
The guide ends with yet more useful info about beer styles, accommodation in the area and local transport links – all of which can’t fail to aid any visitor to the area. The bus links and websites were also useful to me as a local reader! I was impressed with the book as a whole and learned a lot that I didn’t know about my local area, its industrial heritage, the wealth of beer and pubs available and the fascinating countryside I have on my doorstep. It is also extremely well put together and well written and researched. Bob Steel has obviously put a lot of work into producing this book and it certainly shows! The walks are described with accuracy and his love of the countryside, the beer, the pubs and the history shines through.
The walks covered all go through some lovely villages and take in some beautiful scenery. I found the descriptions to be accurate and definitely won’t get you lost! They also pointed out some places and sights that I hadn’t previously been aware of, so even local people can learn something from this book. It has also encouraged me to go out and see more places and appreciate what I have on my doorstep.
I can’t recommend it highly enough and encourage anyone planning to visit the Peak District to invest in a copy. The photographs and text are interesting to read and will certainly make the journey to and from the start of the walks go quickly and painlessly. It is also easy to follow, with enough text to entertain, yet not too wordy or boring. Bob Steel’s writing style is entertaining too, definitely making it a recommended read for beer drinkers, cyclists and walkers alike. It is even good for the armchair enthusiast, or someone who just likes to know about good beer in good surroundings.
Peak District Pub Walks is small enough to fit in your pocket or ruck sack, but still manages to be packed full of interest. There is enough to read to make it a good book, as well as a useful resource for the walker and drinker!
* Paperback: 176 pages
* Publisher: CAMRA Books (7 April 2008)
* Language English
* ISBN-10: 1852492465
* ISBN-13: 978-1852492465