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The Old Ways


The Broomway is allegedly the deadliest path in Britain, thought to have killed over a hundred people over the centuries. It is an offshore footpath that crosses the vast expanse of the Maplin sands to the little marshy Foulness island off the Essex coast. The track of firmer sand, originally marked by broom handles, runs for six miles  and is only passable at low tide – but  beware the tide comes across the flats sands at an alarming speed.

This wonderful book is included here on the strength of Macfarlanes description of his encounter with this path which can only to be attempted with a local guide.

The rest of the book recounts Robert Macfarlane’s travels on Britain’s ancient paths as he discovers the secrets of our beautiful, underappreciated landscape.  Following the tracks, holloways, drove-roads and sea paths that form part of a vast ancient network of routes criss-crossing the British Isles and beyond, Robert Macfarlane discovers a lost world – a landscape of the feet and the mind, of pilgrimage and ritual, of stories and ghosts; above all of the places and journeys which inspire and inhabit our imaginations.

Penguin paperback, £9.99