Book Review - Trailblazer Guide - North Downs Way
My only recent acquaintances with south-east England have been when driving along the motorways to reach Dover for a trip to the continent. It was therefore an enlightening experience to read the Trailblazer Walking Guide to the North Downs Way as it filled some enormous holes in my knowledge of the area. Trailblazer are offering an ever increasing range of their guides and this one follows the standard format, which is very practical and focussed.
What do you get for your money? The soft back book runs to 194 pages in a pocket sized format that will easily fit in your pocket or rucksack. Inside there are 80 detailed walking maps at 1:20, 000 – more detailed than commercially available OS mapping – that have been annotated with useful notes and guidance. Many maps are general purpose trying hard to satisfy a range of readers. These maps are walker friendly and aimed at this specialist market. As the blurb says they are “drawn by walkers for walkers”.
The route of NDW is described in detail with a clear, well structured itinerary. In addition the route is described in such a way that the book is also very useful for anyone wishing to sample highlights or undertake a short day walk. Public transport information helps in this respect so the need for two cars is reduced.
Finally there is a wide range of information specific to the route. The ‘what to see’ section was particularly impressive. This is supplemented by accommodation (from campsites to hotels), where to eat and other information required for such a trail. For those not sure of the route, the NDW runs from Farnham to Dover via Canterbury and includes Guildford, Dorking, Redhill, Oxted, Rochester and Aylesford amongst other places en-route.
Verdict – Overall a brilliant purchase and a book that all walkers in the area should consider adding to their library.
Review date - 23rd March 2008 - Reviewed by LJ