Silver Travel Book Club - October 2020

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Silver Travel Book Club

Each month, we'll find out what Andrew is reading about a different destination, and two lucky Silver Travel Book Club readers can win a free copy of the month's book.

HF HolidaysThis month the Silver Travel Book Club – proudly sponsored by
HF Holidays – is reading Into the Tangled Bank by Lev Parikian.

The author is on a journey to discover the quirks, habits and foibles of how the British experience nature. Open a window, hear the birds calling and join him. Warm, humorous and full of telling detail, Into the Tangled Bank puts the idiosyncrasies of how we are in nature under the microscope. And in doing so, it reveals how our collective relationship with nature has changed over the centuries, what our actions mean for nature and what being a nature lover in Britain might mean today. 

As we look forward to less restricted times next year, our sponsor HF Holidays is opening up more of its country houses in the most beautiful parts of the UK and also new routes to some more remote places, to rediscover nature ourselves. 

Mull and Iona Island Hopping

HF Holidays – Walking Holidays in 2021

Why not book a wonderful walking holiday for next year and give yourself something to look forward to? At HF Holidays we have more than 100 years’ experience of running small group guided walking holidays, and during this time, we have built up the knowledge to deliver extraordinary holiday experiences in exceptional locations. We have been a Which? Recommended Provider this year and for the last three years.; travel with us and you’ll be in safe hands.

Escape to one of our own 17 country houses all across the UK and leave all the planning and navigation to us; it’s what we’re best at. Here you’ll have a choice of coastal, moorland, hill and mountain walks each day, led by experienced leaders. Or tackle classic trails and go island hopping, with new trips to explore the Cairngorms, Mull and Iona and the best of Arran among others. Whether you’re looking for gentle walking on easy terrain, something more challenging, or a trip that includes sightseeing and wildlife watching, make 2021 the year you get outside and discover the best walks in the UK with HF.

More details

HF Holidays - Derwent Bank, Cumbria
HF Holidays - Dolgellau, Wales

Into the Tangled Bank by Lev ParikianHow to win a copy of 'Into the Tangled Bank' by Lev Parikian

As we start travelling again and rediscovering the amazing natural beauty on offer in Britain’s great outdoors, we would love to hear what you enjoy most about being in touch with nature

Simply add a comment at the end of this page to tell us about your own experience – it could be a favourite remote place, a view or even a sound or smell which evokes that feeling of calm and happiness. The two best entries will win a copy of this book.

Read more about all of our Silver Travel Book Club books.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 19 Comment(s)

  • Helyn
    11 months ago
    Covid means I have been on medical shielding all spring and summer so my nature time has been diminished.
    However, to my joy - and for the first time ever - the nesting box I have had for four years was inhabited this year! A pair of blue tits set up home and reared their babies. Every day I would sit and watch as they flew in and out nest-building, caring for each other, and feeding the babies. I got a new bird feeder to keep well stocked for them. Absolute joy the first time I saw one of "my" babies feeding.
    I look forward to resuming my ramblings in the future when covid 19 permits. However, I will never forget the simple pleasure of being so close to nature in my own back garden and helping a little family on their way.
  • PaulineTurner
    11 months ago
    We live in Lancashire which has some beautiful countryside and we spend a lot of time walking. Whenever we go on holiday, walking is how we like to spend our days. A few years ago we spent a few days walking in Norfolk and decided to walk to Horsey Mere. We set off along the beach and as we walked, two seals appeared and swam alongside us the whole time we were on the beach. We then walked inland to the mere and, as we were walking we heard the rush of wings above us. When we looked up we were amazed to see three large white cranes swoop above us and land in the reeds a few yards away. We watched them for quite some time as they searched for food, quite unconcerned by our presence. We felt privileged to have seen these rare birds and to have been given the the gift of such a wonderful day with nature.
  • Hardyplant
    11 months ago
    I live on the north facing escarpment of the North Downs in Kent, a county that a lot of people think is full of traffic, buildings and lacking in wide open spaces - but they're people who've only ever driven along those busy roads and not explored the countryside. A drive along the old Roman road on which I live brings me to a viewpoint on the downs and yes, if I cared to walk a short distance along a path I could see the blot on the landscape that is the Eurotunnel Terminal, but luckily it's out of earshot so I stay where I am and enjoy the silence, only broken by the sound of livestock or the high pitched call of buzzards soaring overhead. Looking southwest over the vast expanse of sparsely populated Romney Marsh I can see as far as the cliffs at Fairlight in East Sussex and in my mind I'm back there, walking the Firehills and smelling the distinctive coconut gorse flowers.
  • chrismse
    11 months ago
    I like walking along the river bank and watching the Herons fishing for their dinner there. Plenty of other birds and geese, swans and ducks too. I live in Hertfordshire not too far from the wonderful Ashridge estate protected by the National Trust. The many red Kites are a real joy to watch.
  • DRSask
    11 months ago
    What I enjoy most about being in nature is being reminded of the sheer vastness of it. Despite the large cities that are encroaching upon the wilderness, there is still so much empty space - empty of people, that is. Whether I'm standing on Ben Nevis, or walking in the Lake District, or standing on Lindisfarne Island and looking out to sea, or standing at the top of St. Michael's Mount there is beauty as far as the eye can see. It gives me a sense that all is right with the world. Since lockdown I have been revisiting these spots in my photos as I'm restricted to walks in my neighbourhood or along the river if I go for a short drive. I have been even more aware of the wildlife as it flourishes this year. The birds in particular have been very present and vocal and a delight to see and hear. I make my own greeting cards and usually rely on photos from my travels to adorn them. However, I have been able to take a lot of great photos in my own little spot of the world that will make some lovely cards for the months to come.
  • SilverTravelEditor
    11 months ago
    Thanks for all these evocative comments about how you most feel in touch with nature.

    You made me feel so envious @yorkshirecat - I just want to come and join you on those wild Yorkshire Moors!

    And @GypsyWanderer - how beautifully you capture the natural wonders of Vietnam. Let's hope we can visit there easily again soon.

    @Kay9 - thanks for sharing the story about how therapeutic - both for physical and mental health - nature has been for your Dad. Hope he manages to keep up his restorative river walks through the winter.

    Please let us know what you enjoy most about being in touch with nature to be in with a chance of winning a copy of Lev Parikian's 'Into the Tangled Bank'.
  • sefalleyne
    12 months ago
    I live in East London but just across the busy dual carriage way, at the end of my road, is a fragment of Epping Forest. Once a Royal Hunting ground, the forest has shrunk, been split up by roads and buildings but in 3 minutes I can be under the trees, hear bird song and see the wild fowl on the ponds. It lifts the spirits.
  • Kay9
    12 months ago
    Since lockdown my dad (91)has walked between 2 and 5 miles twice a week when the weather has been suitable,starting at 6am along the riverbank.
    He has taken some photos of the birds and landscape in which he's always been interested.This was curtailed by a heart problem but it's now better controlled and it's good to see how nature is helping him regain a quality of life.
  • philatel
    12 months ago
    Since lockdown, I have been shielding with my 100 year old Mum. This has given me the opportunity to be out in the garden almost daily. Apart from growing lots of vegetables, I have seen foxes, squirrels, magpies, jays, crows, woodpeckers, etc. which I probably wouldn't have seen if I had only been out there at the weekends. I love the smell of cut grass - that pleasure is still to come - it hasn't been cut for weeks because of the rain.
  • doublet
    12 months ago
    We are in touch with nature without leaving our house, with nightly visits from hungry badgers.
  • Lynmar
    12 months ago
    I have always enjoyed walking and have participated in a weekly Nordic walking group for 9 years but sadly this stopped with the Covid lockdown. Keen to take advantage of the daily exercise permitted during lockdown, I began walks of an hour or more in my local area which started in a residential area and continued around the perimeter of 2 fields. I am from a farming background and relished the opportunity to reconnect with my agricultural roots, noticing the seasonal changes in the crops and hedgerows and delighting in the birdsong that surrounded me, especially that of the skylark. Spring was a beautiful season this year, with abundant blossom encouraged by the warm sunshine which was so welcome during months of fear and uncertainty. I have continued my walks 3 or 4 times a week, exchanging comments with those I meet and simply enjoying the fresh air and opportunity to stretch my legs. When I started out in March, the barley in the fields had only recently germinated and now the harvest has been gathered, the land prepared and next year's crops sown. In recent weeks, I have picked blackberries and sloes which I have watched developing from the spectacular blossom I enjoyed earlier in the year. In addition to the general health benefits of time spent in the great outdoors, regular walking has improved mobility in my hips and lower back and, combined with my on-line Pilates class, negated the need for regular visits to the physiotherapist. I have never been a sporty person but a walk, alone or with friends, really hits the spot for me, especially when followed by a cup of coffee and newspaper or book. Bliss!
  • you
    12 months ago
    would like to win a book as I am rereading my books at the moment... I have been unable to do my usual tour of the charity book shops.
  • Ozdevon
    12 months ago
    We live within 10 minutes walk of a city but there is a green valley just five minutes away. Love walking there to see the seasons change & of course it encourages more wildlife such as woodpeckers into our garden. I never get bored of looking out onto our small back garden.
  • JulieAAA
    12 months ago
    I just love watching happy dogs bounding around the beach with their owners, especially on a sunny day, with the waves gently rippling, and the birds calling.
  • linkeditor
    12 months ago
    It's the smell! - in the garden or on a walk along the river near my home - after the rain.
    There's something wonderful about the change in the smell of the air after rain. It really is special.
  • Jeanette-Purvis
    12 months ago
    Just before the Covid19 happened we we preparing to move to Durham. Unfortunately after moving we were unable to go out and about to see what Durham and area has to offer in the way of walks and beauty spots. The countryside around us is amazing but would so like to venture a bit further afield to see more of the coastal areas and get to know people. The only people I have spoken to are my next door neighbours. We went shopping briefly wearing face masks but shopping like this wearing steamed up glasses is not a pleasant experience.
  • LH
    12 months ago
    This year I have spent more time in my garden than ever before, and discovered a blackbird nest, and lots of sparrow nests. I have a new bird bath, and all the sparrows have bath time mid morning when the water has warmed up in the sun, they all sit on the rim and take it in turns to bathe! I took part in the Big Butterfly Count, and although I had as many as usual, with lots of gatekeepers fluttering around, the year results just out show an overall reduction of minus 34%. We all need to wild part of our gardens and next year I will have a wild flower patch, which will not be mown until August. There is so much amazing natural beauty on our doorstep and we all want to keep it that way forever to enjoy.
  • GypsyWanderer
    12 months ago
    Travelling with friends in Vietnam gave many opportunities to experience nature at close quarters, from clambering up mountains, walking in lush forests, being paddled, in a junk, down narrow waterways of the Mekong Delta to enjoying the many beaches but my favourite memory was of a small lake. We had been for a walk and were returning to our welcoming and isolated guest house. We decided to stop for a drink and found ourselves alone, sitting, sipping cocktails overlooking a beautiful lake. Apart from birdsong there were no other sounds. The sun twinkled on the still water below us, still apart from the ripples caused by the only boat on the lake. A small boat containing a lone fisherman. We watched in silence for an hour or so, mesmerised. He paddled, in circles, with his feet, as he dropped his net, then repeated the circle pulling in the net and retrieving his catch. After a while he would move to a different area, coming closer to us.
    I will never forget the peace, the quiet, and the calm of that beautiful scene. He was at one with nature, no engine polluting the water or disturbing the peace, no huge catch, just enough. I wonder how he felt? A lone fisherman on a lone, beautiful lake, unaware of the three pairs of eyes watching him, loving what they were seeing. A wonderful and very special memory.
  • yorkshirecat
    12 months ago
    The minute I leave my front door I’m out into moorland and I can feel the stress draining away as I go ‘running up that hill’ Kate Bush style. Although I love to run, and am fortunate to have easy access to natural pathways for my 'treadmill,' I am minded of the W H Davies' poem "What is this life if full of care we have no time to stand and stare". As a keen birdwatcher I need no excuse to stop and enjoy the antics of a gang of fluffy pink long tailed tits tumbling through the treetops or listen to the curlew's bubbling song. Currently the moors are covered in pink heather and ripening bilberries. A lone kestrel hovers above, watching intently, hoping I'll scare some prey into its path. In summer foxgloves buzzing with bees line the trails and buzzards mew overhead, providing me with an escort. In spring the skylark ascends, stopping me in my tracks as I watch it rise and fall. In winter the local robins serenade me from bare branches as I crunch over frosted ground. I return refreshed and at peace after each sojourn with nature.