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About The Book

The Author : Steven Crockford

View of Corfe Castle

First steps

My first long-distance-walk, or for that matter my first walk of any sort was in 1972. Not one to start gradually and work up, I attempted to walk the Pennine Way in the company of Colin Enzer, an experienced and hardened walker. It was not a pleasant experience, blisters, waterlogged boots, and limbs unused to such exertions detracted from what should have been a memorable and valiant adventure - we failed to reach Kirk Yetholm. I still feel I let Colin down.

I never set out to become a walker; it grew instead from a love of running (I am still a member of Poole Runners). Now pounding the roads can get very tedious, and I soon discovered the greater appeal of the tracks and paths around Dorset. These paths meander through the county, opening it up to the passer-by in a way nothing else can. As you pass through each village, you are an itinerant, a free agent. With no responsibilities you leave the village as you found it and pass on via footpaths and bridleways to the next. You are as much a part of the countryside as it is possible to feel. I found that to set out each day, as you must on a long distance path, with only the walk ahead to occupy my mind, provided a freedom that was unrivalled. If that walk is also graced by glorious views and rural tranquillity, then the experience as a whole is without parallel.

The seeds of an idea

You know how it is, how one thing leads to another. Having run Wainwright's Coast-to-Coast route I had to return to enjoy it at a more leisurely pace. Other walks followed, and yes, I even returned to Edale and walked again the Pennine Way, this time enjoying a well-earned pint (or two!) at the Border Hotel in Kirk Yetholm.

After retiring from teaching I was able to fulfil an ambition and explore Dorset to a greater extent. I have not found a county more blessed with footpaths to explore, or more established routes to follow, the Ridgeway, Jubilee Way, Monarchs Way and the Coastal Footpath to name few. I was never at a loss for where to go next, only sad that in choosing one route I was inevitably bypassing another. The more I walked the more stunned I was by the county in which I have spent most of my life, and the more determined I became to share what I had discovered.

I never set out to be a walker, and I never set out to write a book either. It began as a series of scribbled notes and maps, and a few drawings of Dorset landmarks. I took a few people on walks, particularly my long-suffering wife, sister and brother-in-law. Others asked for suggestions for walks and directions. The final ingredient came when I took part in a relay race around the perimeter of Norfolk. It was on road, and any scenic quality there might have been was lost on me, but it sowed a seed.

The print run (at a leisurely pace)

So years later, here it is, A Round Dorset Walk. I cannot claim to have discovered anything new, many have been here before me and all I have done is piece together what many have walked and others have written about, but I do hope you enjoy it. I make no promises, but if you keep your wits about you, and plan and prepare thoroughly, I think you will. All the very best to you, maybe we will meet during your walk round Dorset.

Steven Crockford

Lookking back into Lulworth Cove