Pathway to Success

As part of its ongoing commitment to supporting the South West Coastal Paths, cottages4you is supporting a range of walking books produced by The books, created by South West locals Simone Stanbrook-Byrne and James Clancy, offer walkers the chance to explore the wide range of stunning walks available in the region.

Here, Simone tells us how a passion for walking and love of photography were the inspiration she and partner James needed to launch their own publishing company.

Having worked in publishing for many years, on Midsummer’s Day 2010, James Clancy and I decided to start a new venture, combining our enjoyment of the great outdoors with James’ flair for landscape photography. The plan was to create very accurate and user-friendly walking guides which promote the glorious region of England in which we live.

Since then the venture has given rise to 11 new books, mostly covering country walking but with two titles guiding people on walks around West Country towns – something which appeals to those who want to explore but prefer easy walking, less mud and plenty of tea shops! Researching Town Walks in Devon and Town Walks in Cornwall was hugely enjoyable, with lots of attractive and historic towns to include.

The country walking books in the A Dozen Dramatic series were born of a desire to walk into really stunning scenery – the kind of thing James wants to point his camera at. This has resulted in some superb routes, not necessarily too challenging as the drama is in the landscape. Some, inevitably, are rough underfoot, like our absolute favourite which goes through Dartmoor’s awesome (in the true sense of the word) Tavy Cleave. Here the elusive bird, the Ring Ouzel, was an extra treat. Notes on expected birds are included in all the country walks, the wildlife en route being an added attraction. Another big treat was the Lizard Point walk in Cornwall as the Choughs had just fledged. Choughs haunt some spectacular places on the Cornish coast so if there’s any chance of seeing them you know you’ll be in good walking country. A Dozen Dramatics series covers Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset – our Exmoor walk from Simonsbath is one we re-visit many times.

We’ve also written regional guides for different areas of Devon: Circular Walks in Central Devoncovers Mid Devon, away from the moors and coasts where the beautiful, undulating country of Devon’s heartland has much to offer and can sometimes be overlooked. As with all the books, town and country, we include history notes to keep people interested on the way round and recommendations for refreshments. Also in this series are guides for spectacular North Devon and Exmoor, idyllic East Devon with its Jurassic Coast and the tranquil and picturesque South Hams.

Another fun project was to work with other authors and walkers on an edited collection, Favourite Walks in Devon. One of the contributors to this is Adam Hart-Davis, well-known television presenter and photographer extraordinaire, who illustrates his walk with original sketches as well as photos. It was lovely to work alongside all the contributors to this book – people with whom we share a love of walking and the West Country.

All in all, it’s been a fabulous venture, living and working in an area we love so much.  We want to share it with people!