Review published on September 22, 2017.
Tom Chesshyre happened upon a map of the River Thames in a bric-a-brac market on his way to the library. It was a reproduction of a map by William Tombleson showing the twists and turns from the source near Cirencester to the mouth on the Kent and Essex coasts. He could not resist buying it and, having done so, an idea formed of walking along the river from the source to the North Sea. The Thames is one of the few rivers, including the Nile and the Amazon, with a global presence. Whilst the other rivers are thousands of miles long, the humble Thames is only 215 miles long, making Tom’s walk a gentle stroll compared to the adventurers Ed Stafford and Levison Wood who have walked the other two rivers.
Our most well-known river has drawn all types of people through the ages, from artists and authors to those that have used the river to make their living from. It doesn’t have the exotic and dangerous elements that the Nile and the Amazon can boast, but it does reflect the rich and diverse history of our country stretching back several thousand years. Passing historical churches, vast country estates and idyllic meadows before walking into the famous skyline that is London. Along the way, Chesshyre meets the great and the good and other people walking the same route as him and the characters that make the river such a dynamic place to live and work. Oh, and there are pubs too, lots of pubs
Travel books should inspire you to move from the comfort of your sofa and go and seek the places yourself. In this delightful book, Chesshyre does that. He engages with the spirit of the river and the places that he walks through, whilst pondering the implications of the recent referendum result. This is a walk that I would like to undertake myself one day as it seems to be a wonderful way to see an iconic part of our country.
Paul Cheney 4/3
From Source to Sea by Tom Chesshyre
Summersdale 9781849539210 hbk Jun 2017
Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize 2017