The Bridleway is here!
The day has finally arrived! My eighth book The Bridleway: How Horses Shaped the British Landscape is published today with Bloomsbury books. I first started working through ideas for this book way back in 2019; I remember talking it through with the lovely Patrick Barkham when he interviewed me for The Guardian, but it took another year to shape the idea into a book skeleton, another two to flesh it out with research, writing and illustration, and one more to work through edits, proofreads and printing. Writing books is incredibly satisfying but man, it takes patience!
I think the most important thing about I want to say about this book is that it isn’t just for ‘horsey’ people. In fact, my goal was to make it as accessible as possible to all readers. The equestrian industry can feel elitist at times, and I didn’t want anyone to feel excluded from the book because they didn’t know what a particular phrase or word meant. I wasn’t a ‘pony club kid’ and I’m not a competitive rider. I don’t know the technical names of equipment or coat colours or horse anatomy. I just like hacking out in the countryside and sharing a bond with another animal.
Field Notes is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
The idea for the book came from this fascination with horses and how their paths, industries and behaviours have been woven into the landscape for centuries. From street and pub names to trading routes and coaching inns, horse fairs and race tracks to rewilding estates, abandoned mines and river crossings, I wrote about how much these animals, part-domesticated and part-fiercely independent, can teach us about our shared place within the landscape.
If you’ve pre-ordered the book already, I can’t thank you enough! You might also be interested in coming to my book launch at the Cowdray Estate on Wednesday 28th June - an evening of wine and good chat in their beautiful Walled Garden. For anyone else who fancies a read, you can buy the book through any retailer you like, including online and real life bookshops. Here are links to the most popular ones:
I’ll continue to talk about the research process over the next few weeks and months, but you can see a selection of photos below from my time writing the book. I’ve also illustrated each chapter inside the book as well as the front cover, and I really hope you enjoy it all.
Thank you, as always, for all your support! *pops prosecco*