Walking the Bones of Britain

Christopher Somerville

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Transworld Publishers Ltd
13 June 2024
ISBN: 9781804991060
448 pages

From the publisher

'[Somerville's] infectious enthusiasm and wry humour infuse his journey from the Isle of Lewis to southern England, revealing our rich geological history with vibrant local and natural history.' - Observer
'An illuminating take on the British landscape ... a remarkable achievement. ' - Tom Chesshyre
'A meticulous exploration of the ground beneath our feet. Glorious.' Katherine Norbury
'Somerville is a walker's writer.' Nicholas Crane
'His writing is utterly enticing.' Country Walking

Travelling a thousand miles and across three billion years, Christopher Somerville (walking correspondent of The Times and author of Coast, The January Man and Ships of Heaven) sets out to interrogate the land beneath our feet, and how it has affected every aspect of human history from farming to house construction, the Industrial Revolution to the current climate crisis.

In his thousand-mile journey, Somerville follows the story of Britain's unique geology, travelling from the three billion year old rocks of the Isle of Lewis, formed when the world was still molten, down the map south eastwards across bogs, over peaks and past quarry pits to the furthest corner of Essex where new land is being formed by nature and man.

Demystifying the sometimes daunting technicalities of geology with humour and a characteristic lightness of touch, Somerville's book tells a story of humanity's reckless exploitation and a lemming-like surge towards self-annihilation but also shows seeds of hope as we learn how we might work with geology to avert a climate catastrophe.

It cannot fail to change the way you see the world beyond your door.