In December 2014 as the nights got darker and the days colder I picked up the non-fiction The Moor by William Atkins. I thought it might suit the time year as well as being a good accompaniment to Shirley by Charlotte Brontë.
In The Moor Atkins first has a prologue on Bishop’s Waltham open land near where he grew which became his inspiration and nurtured his interest in moorland. Then Atkins has a chapter on Bodmin Moor, Exmoor, Dartmoor, Saddleworth Moor, The Calder Valley, The Haworth Moors (Brontë country), The North York Moors, Alston Moor, and The Otterburn Training Area. For each Atkins discusses the geography, history, inhabitants, ownership and uses for the land, and the literature and art they have inspired. It was the literature and history I was most interested in.
The Moor is the first book I have read by William Atkins. I found the style to be detailed and down to earth. Atkins has also clearly done his research not just reading up on the moors but also getting out there; walking the moors, talking to the locals and experiencing life and activities there. As I have noted above this book is crammed full of information. Each chapter is a mash-up of information on the geography, history, inhabitants, ownership and uses for the land, and the literature and art that moor has inspired which seemed to have no order or reason to it. Atkins would pick up one thread then branch off to another only to come back to a previous thread, and if I’m honest sometimes it was hard for me to keep up. I still thought this was an interesting read, and it was a good accompaniment to Shirley by Charlotte Brontë, but just needed more order for me.
The Moor is a detailed and interesting look at the moorlands of England. You may like this if your interested in the geography, history, and literature of England. Okay read.
Thank you to Faber & Faber for providing a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Have you read this? Could you recommend any moor inspired books?