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The Old Ways

A Journey on Foot

Robert Macfarlane

The final book in a timeless trilogy about landscape and the human heart

Robert Macfarlane sets off from his Cambridge home to travel the ancient tracks, holloways, drove-roads and sea paths that form part of a vast network of old routes criss-crossing the British landscape and its waters, and connecting them to the continents beyond. The result is an immersive, enthralling exploration of the ghosts and voices that haunt ancient paths, of the stories our tracks tell, of pilgrimage and ritual, trespass and transgress, of songlines and their singers, of border-crossings and landscape portals, and of walking as a reconnoitre inwards.

Told in Macfarlane's distinctive and lyrical voice, the book folds together geology, archaeology, natural history and cartography, and is densely peopled by eccentrics, visionaries, artists and poets, all of whom understand themselves by means of landscape. Along the way, Macfarlane sleeps out in copses and beehive shielings, on mountain-tops and chalk downs. He discovers, above all, that paths offer not just a means of traversing space, but also ways of feeling, being, knowing and thinking.

'A naturalist who can unfurl a sentence with the breathless ease of a master angler, a writer whose ideas and reach far transcend the physical region he explores' The New York Times Book Review

'[Mountains of the Mind is] a distinguished book that jolted my heart. Adventurous, passionate, intensely romantic . . . fizzes with insights' Roger Deakin

'A new naturalist to set beside the classics in our literature' Evening Standard

Robert Macfarlane is a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and the author of Mountains of the Mind and The Wild Places.

The Old Ways


Pub Date: June, 2012
ISBN: 9780241143810
Price: £20.00
Format: 234 x 153mm hb
Extent: 448pp
Territory: 1BCEKZ