Book Review: England & Wales Island Bagging by Lisa Drewe
A stunning guide to adventures on the islands of England, Wales, the Channel Islands & the Isle Of Man. It is ideal for swimmers, kayakers, adventure travellers, wildlife spotters and ice cream connoisseurs.Lisa Drewe
Off the Northeast coast of Europe lies the British Isles archipelago, a collection of over 6000 islands on the edge of the North Atlantic Ocean. Yet as occupants of these wonderful islands we very rarely visit any of them. In fact, we even forget that many of us live on the largest island of the archipelago.
The islands around the UK are very diverse and intriguing in many ways. Whether it is their human history, or natural history, or just great adventures that they offer us. Some are only accessible with special permission, yet others are holiday destinations in their own right. They range from the sub-tropical sandy beaches to the windswept outcrops of the North Sea, to some of the most spectacular wildlife reserves in the world.
In this book the author has created is a fantastic repository of the islands that she has explored. It is one of those books that you will want to dip into time and time again as you travel to the different parts of the UK. She has divided the map of England & Wales into 12 separate regions covering the key areas of the mainland coastline plus the Isle of Man, Isles of Scilly, Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands.
The introduction is full of useful advice and practical information, including safety, tide, and weather warnings, with information about more detailed external sources. Lisa also extensively covers the Countryside Code and includes warning about starting fires, leaving litter, picking flowers etc, as well as a code of conduct about dogs and natural wildlife. The key point that the introduction highlights is public access and the need to seek landowners’ permission on many occasions.
Within each region Lisa gives an overview of the area with a clearly illustrated map identifying the island covered. She then covers each island individually detailing access, the history, where to go and what to see, natural history of the island and seas surrounding it, accommodation and catering facilities and any outdoor activities available such as swimming, kayaking, sailing etc.
Throughout the book it is beautifully illustrated with photographs by Lisa and a few other contributors, plus excellent illustrations including OS and Open-Source maps. Each point of interest is clearly identified with a bold titles and simple and concise keys identify what is available to the visitor. This allows for a quick and easy overview of each island before delving into the fantastic amount of detail and information available.
The final chapter is a plethora of ‘top ten’ islands in various categories. These include best natural features, best beaches, best for stargazing and bird watching, plus best for families and best for pubs. In fact there are 18 top tens to peruse and maybe help direct you towards the best islands to suit your needs and requirements.
This is not a ‘cover to cover’ read book, though this would give a fascinating insight into the islands of the British Isles. This is a coffee table book, a reference book and, most certainly, a most have for every household who likes to adventure or explore. Use this book to plan or supplement your holidays, especially if you are going to one of the larger island groups like the Isles of Scilly.
This is certainly a book I would strongly recommend to any family who like to go places when on holiday in the UK. It is very well researched, written and illustrated and would make the perfect addition to any bookcase or coffee table.
Lisa Drewe, a self-confessed islomaniac has spent the last 12 years exploring and documents nearly 500 islands around the UK. Originally a Civil Servant, Lisa now divides her time between writing, exploring and protecting the marine wildlife in her role as Chair of Whale and Dolphin Conservation. For further information on this amazing woman check out her website www.islandeering .com or follow Lisa and Islandeering on social media
Disclaimer: I was given a copy of England & Wales Island Bagging by Vertebrate Publishing which I used for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.