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RICHMOND PARK: The Walker‚s Historical Guide - Review, Active Britain

It is not often that I review publications which are printed privately but David McDowall‚s book is an exception. This travel book, ten years old now, is a splendid and informative work by the author who lives at the entrance to the Park and knows the area well.

Eleven walks are included to cover sites from prehistoric and ancient times to the twenty-first century with two special walks to cover the Richmond Parish Boundary and the Isabella plantation. The last twenty odd pages cover what you will find in Richmond Park: the trees and plantations, the deer, the birds, and the ponds. A very useful index (always a must for the Wainwright-type walker) is also included.

Dame Jennifer Jenkins reviewed the book when it came out writing ŒI strongly recommend that you take this book when you walk in Richmond Park. If this is your first visit you will not miss the hidden view of St Paul‚s Cathedral. If you already know the park you will discover places you have not noticed ˆ prehistoric barrows, medieval field systems, the remains of long lost houses ˆ and your eyes will be opened to the extraordinary wealth of trees and birds to be found‚

Truly a thoroughly well-deserved tribute for this illustrated guide, containing as it does Richmond Park‚s subtle historic secrets which transforms the walker‚s enjoyment of the splendid landscape.

McDowall writes that this guide does not belong on a bookshelf . Yes, he is correct when he concludes his introduction saying that „if it doesn‚t live in a coat pocket and become rapidly dog-eared, I shall have failed‰. My is dog-eared, very useful and he hasn‚t failed. Every Richmond Park walker should not be without one.

Phillip Taylor
Richmond Park Walker

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