In this deeply personal journey across our nation's most forbidding and most mysterious terrain, William Atkins takes the reader from south to north, in search of the heart of this elusive landscape. His account is both travelogue and natural history, and an exploration of moorland's uniquely captivating position in our literature, history and psyche. Atkins may be a solitary wanderer across these vast expanses, but his journey is full of encounters, busy with the voices of the moors, past and present: murderers and monks, smugglers and priests, gamekeepers and ramblers, miners and poets, developers and environmentalists.
As he travels, he shows us that the fierce landscapes we associate with Wuthering Heights and The Hound of the Baskervilles are far from being untouched wildernesses. Daunting and defiant, the moors echo with tales of a country and the people who live in it – a mighty, age-old landscape standing steadfast against the passage of time.
William Atkins grew up in rural Hampshire, where he spent his childhood exploring the tract of moorland on his doorstep. After studying photography and art history, he went on to work in poetry and art publishing, before becoming Editorial Director at Pan Macmillan UK, where he edited and published prize-winning fiction. He now works as a freelance editor and consultant, and spends his time exploring Britain's moorlands. He lives in north London.