10 Best Books About Walking to read this Summer

Reading time: 4 - 7 minutes

There's something special about the simple act of walking. Not only is it a great way to connect with nature and clear your mind, but also to discover new places. So, as summer beckons, now is the perfect time to immerse yourself in captivating stories that celebrate the joys of exploring on foot.

Whether you're after inspiration for your next walking holiday or simply seeking a great read, these 10 books are sure to ignite your wanderlust and fuel your summer adventures.


1. The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

A portrayal of home and how it can be lost and rediscovered in the most unexpected ways, Raynor Winn’s debut takes readers on a journey that is both challenging and uplifting in equal measure. This inspiring memoir tells the story of a couple who, after losing everything, embark on a 630-mile walking journey along the South West Coast Path – the stunning long-distance walking route that covers the coastlines of Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and Dorset. Winner of the 2019 RSL Christopher Bland prize, the book is set to be adapted for the big screen in a 2024 film starring Gillian Anderson and Jason Isaacs.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd

2. Step by Step by Simon Reeve

In this wonderfully life-affirming memoir, travel broadcaster Simon Reeve shares his experiences and insights from his walking adventures around the globe. From dodging bullets on far-flung frontlines to trekking across jungles, deserts, and mountains, his travels have taken him to some of the most beautiful, dangerous, and remote regions of the world. Simon gives an account of his favourite expeditions and traces his own personal journey from leaving school without qualifications to changing his life step by step.

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

3. Finding Hildasay by Christian Lewis

A Sunday Times bestseller, Finding Hildasay is a heartwarming tale of how one man walked his way to hope and happiness. After hitting an emotional rock bottom, ex-paratrooper, Christian, set himself a challenge: to walk the entire coastline of the UK with little more than a tent and the company of his beloved dog, Jet. Charting his five-year journey from the West Coast of Northern Ireland to the remote Scottish island of Hildasay, it’s an unflinching portrayal of mental health problems that becomes a resounding testament to the healing power of nature and the British landscape.

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Trail Guides

4. Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells by Alfred Wainwright

Legendary walker, Alfred Wainwright’s classic collection of guidebooks offer detailed descriptions and hand-drawn maps of over 200 fells in the Lake District. Considered the definitive guide to walking in the Lake District, this series of seven books consist entirely of reproductions of Wainwright's manuscript, hand-produced in pen and ink. They’re a must-have for any walker planning to explore this beautiful region.

Publisher: Quarto Publishing PLC


5. The Hobbit: An unexpected journey by JRR Tolkien

The first instalment of JRR Tolkien’s fantasy trilogy follows Frodo Baggins and his companions as they embark on a perilous quest across the realm of Middle-Earth. At its core, the story celebrates the courage and resilience of ordinary beings who find themselves thrust into extraordinary situations. Published in 1937, the books not only spawned a series of critically acclaimed film adaptations, lauded for their breathtaking depiction of the untamed landscapes of New Zealand, but also the 2023 TV series, Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Fans of Tolkien’s work eagerly anticipate release of the second season of The Rings of Power in August 2024, but you can find out where it all began by picking up a copy of The Hobbit.

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

6. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Published in 2012, Rachel Joyce’s bestselling debut novel has since been made into a film starring Jim Broadbent and Penelope Wilton. It is the sympathetic and sensitive story of timid retiree, Harold Fry, an unremarkable man who sets off on a remarkable journey on foot in the belief he can save his friend dying from terminal cancer. Walking from Devon to Berwick-upon-Tweed, he covers 627 miles in 87 days with no hiking boots (just yachting shoes), no map, and no mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking to see his friend one last time.

Publisher: Black Swan

7. The Wildwater Walking Club: Step by Step by Claire Cook

A great feel-good story about walking, women, and friendship, this inspiring novel by New York Times bestselling author, Claire Cook, follows Wildwater trio Noreen, Tess, and Rosie as they walk, talk, and learn to take life’s big changes and challenges one step at a time. An insightful, charming, and fun read with plenty of romantic comedy twists, the underlying message is to focus on what's important in life; mostly the joys of companionship, getting to know yourself, and taking a brisk walk.

Publisher: Marshbury Beach Books


8. The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane

Described by Will Self as "a beautifully modulated call from the wild, that will ensorcell any urban prisoner wishing to break free", this inspiring book follows MacFarlane’s passionate and powerful search for the last areas of true wilderness in Britain and Ireland. Readers follow Macfarlane’s well-researched and celebrated journey of discovery as he unveils a variety of landscapes in Dorset, Norfolk, Essex, Wales, Cumbria, Connemara, Sutherland, and more. Mostly, it offers a completely new relationship with landscape through a beguiling mix of natural and human history.

Publisher: Granta Books

9. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

This page-turning bestseller tells the true story of 24-year-old Christopher McCandless, who walked into the Alaskan wilderness in 1992 and whose corpse was tragically found just four months later by a party of moose hunters. Using letters, photos, diary entries, and interviews, American mountaineer and writer Jon Krakauer pieces together McCandless' life and final travels, telling a story that is as much about the relentlessly harsh wilderness as the enigmatic college graduate's search for enlightenment through nature. Whilst the author ends the story with a heartbreaking scene, the beautifully written investigation of McCandless' short life is mesmerising.

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

10. The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd

Written during WWII and left in a drawer by the novelist for over 30 years before it was finally published, The Living Mountain describes the remarkable journeys Shepherd made into the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland. Hailed as “a masterpiece…. amongst the greatest works of nature writing to come out of Britain”, this is a gloriously poetic account of the mountain environment that draws on different perspectives. The author’s encounters of a breathtakingly beautiful world is both powerful and profound, especially for those intrigued by the forces of nature that are both majestic and alarming in equal measure.

Publisher: Canongate Books

These books offer a mix of personal journeys, practical advice, and imaginative storytelling, all centred around the joy of walking. They're the perfect companions for a summer of exploration and adventure. So why not pick one up, lace up your walking boots, and see where the path takes you? And if you're feeling particularly inspired, why not book a walking holiday and create your own adventure?

Cornwall Guided Walking Holiday

Accommodation: Chy Morvah, St Ives

Departing: throughout 2024, 2025 for 7 nights

Price from: £919pp with seasonal offers available

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Wainwright Bagging Northern Fells Challenge

Accommodation: Derwent Bank, Keswick

Departing: 27 Sep 2024 for 7 nights

Price from: £1,199 £1,149pp

View holiday

Cairngorms Guided Walking Holiday

Accommodation: The Boat Inn - Cairngorms National Park

Departing: Oct 2024, May-Oct 2025 for 7 nights

Price from: £1,249pp

View holiday

Published 11th July 2024