The View from the Hill

Christopher Somerville

An absolute delight.
Dorset Magazine

Somerville is a superb writer – controversial and wry, but also evocative and informative.
Perceptive Travel

This is a book you can dip into at any page and be transported to a place and time where the wonders of these sceptred isles are revealed in clear, concise – never rambling – prose by a worthy successor to one of the author’s personal heroes, the eminent walker/naturalist, John Hillaby.
Outdoor Focus




Somerville is a walker’s writer. The countryside has never been more inviting and this is the book to make you reach for your rambling shoes. It’s a profusion of delights!
Nicholas Crane

From the enforced hibernation of the lockdown year, Somerville turns his vision to forty years of wandering. With precision, clarity, depth and curiosity, these recollections lead us down the pathways of a lifetime.
Nick Hunt, author of Outlandish: Walking Europe’s Unlikely Landscapes

It’s a joyous wander right across the British Isles, revelling in the rich landscapes of our isles, and marvelling at the wildlife that lives in it.
Hiking Historian blog


In Christopher Somerville’s workroom is a case of shelves that holds 450 notebooks. Their pages are creased and stained with mud, blood, flattened insect corpses, beer glass rings, smears of plant juice and gallons of sweat. Everything Somerville has written about walking the British countryside has had its origin among these little black-and-red books.

During the lockdowns and enforced idleness of the Covid-19 pandemic, Somerville began to revisit this rough treasury of notes, spanning forty years of exploring these islands on foot. The View from the Hill pulls together the cream of this unique crop, following the cycle of the seasons from a freezing January on the Severn Estuary to the sight of sunrise on Christmas morning from inside a prehistoric burial mound. In between are hundreds of walks to discover randy natterjack toads in a Cumbrian spring, trout in a Hampshire chalk stream in lazy midsummer, a lordly red stag at the autumn rut on the Isle of Mull, and three thousand geese at full gabble in the wintry Norfolk sky.

Best of all, you don’t have to stir out of your chair to enjoy these walks. Just stir up the fire, fill your glass, and let Christopher Somerville take you out of here and far away.

CHRISTOPHER SOMERVILLE is the walking correspondent of The Times. He is one of Britain’s most respected and prolific travel writers, with forty-two books, hundreds of newspaper articles and many TV and radio appearances to his name.

Visit Christopher’s website here.

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