I Am Making an Ebook of Walks On The Quantock Hills

by martinhesp


I am in the process of putting a new ebook together which will be a collection of some 30 walks articles I’ve written down the years featuring the Quantock Hills.

It’s going to take me a little while to collate the words and many photographs I have – and really I’m doing it as a bit of an experiment to see if I can achieve what I intend and make an ebook that looks good enough.
Of course, this might not interest a soul – but I do know the walks articles have been very popular over the past 13 years as they’ve appeared each week in my newspaper, the Western Morning News – and indeed in other papers within the group.

Altogether I have written well over 600 walks articles featuring routes west of Bristol down to the Isles of Scilly – and my intention is to bring out ebooks for every area within the peninsula.

But I’ve started with the Quantocks because I’ve known the hills all my life, they are beautiful – and I love them. Here’s what my character Johnny Walford has to say about the area at the very beginning of my novel The Last Broomsquire….
“I call it a mountain, knowing that it is but a tiny ridge in the greater scheme of God’s geography, but to me Quantock is the stuff of eminence and elevation. From the great bare tops you can see half the world. You can see the country of Wales across the sea, you can see the Mendip Hills, unlovely and stark to the east and between them and you lies the wide flooded void of the flatlands. Sweeping west they rise to the landlocked, patchwork Vale of the Tone and beyond, to the south, stand the flat-topped Blackdown Hills. And so the great vista rolls on into the county of Devon and to the south and west there is a glimpse of distant Dartmoor while close by, in the direction of the setting sun, the Brendon Hills begin their march to Exmoor’s lonely heights.

I tell you all this because I am setting out the story of my life and, if anyone is to understand it, then they must have some concept of the Elevated Sense of Being enjoyed by the folk of the hills. Few are born up there on Quantock’s lofty ridge. Even fewer remain to eke a living there. And none but the Walfords stay to die.
Samuel Coleridge put it like this:

“Dim coasts, and cloud-like hills, and shoreless ocean –
It seemed like omnipresence! God, me thought,
Had built him there a temple: the whole world
Seemed imaged in its vast circumference.”

The Quantocks: with their bosomly cleft of combe, their sylvan, shapely, contours and their high, heath-clad moors where the breeze soughs without end.  Who, and what I am, is but clay formed in this crucible of sandstone and heather and my life-blood is nought but the clear cold water of a Quantock stream.”

As soon as the ebook is ready, I will feature it again in this blog…. In the meantime you can, if you wish, take a look at another experimental ebook I did a year or so ago focusing on the old harbours of the Westcountry. It’s called Ports of the West and you can find it on this link…