In Edgeland, the political diarist Sasha Swire escapes the confines of Westminster to walk the northern stretch of the South West Coast Path. Starting at Minehead in Somerset, she follows the well-trodden path to Land's End in Cornwall, walking it in sections over a decade-long period, returning each year like a migratory bird from the spot she had previously left off from.
The result is an immersive, beguiling and literary exploration of one of the most enigmatic, beautiful and popular coastlines on earth. It is also a contemplative and very personal response to a story about our English shore from pre-Celtic times to the present day; of the upheaval of rocks; of astonishing botany; of pilgrimage and customs; of the exploitation of resources and of dangers to come.
Swire identifies how important edges are to us as she walks, not only in how we see our world but in our cerebral response to them. She observes that the outside limits, the borders, the line where two surfaces of a solid meet actively encourage not only the flora and fauna but people to gather, create, generate resistance, and create new ways of living and working.
She discovers that the path is not only a walk through Britain's windswept and wave-battered western fringes but a tale about how we and nature have, through extraordinary resilience and a relentless spirit, learnt to tame the various forces that are stacked up against us. That we live at the edge of the possible.
Sasha Swire was raised and educated in west Cornwall, where her father, Sir John Nott, was MP for the St Ives constituency. She was a journalist on national and regional publications and in Asia before working as her husband Hugo Swire's political researcher from 2001 to 2019. She divides her time between Devon and London.