The 12 greatest journey books of 2020

Best for discovering the UK

9. Dark, Salt, Clear: Living in a Cornish fishing town by Lamorna Ash

In the most south-western corner of the country, Dark, Salt, Clear: Living in a Cornish fishing town, writer Lamorna Ash returns to the town of Newlyn, Britain’s largest working fishing port. Here she explores the seascapes and beaches of the summers of her childhood, goes on excursions with trawler arms, learns how to gutting fish and deals with other aspects of an endangered coastal lifestyle. Bloomsbury, £ 16.99.

10. The Accidental Countryside by Stephen Moss

From prehistoric ruins to abandoned railroad lines, skyscrapers and docklands, Moss seeks out the unexpected corners of Britain where wildlife survives against the odds. The natural historian and television producer explores places of human settlement where nature could nevertheless thrive. We meet nesting peregrine falcons at Tate Modern and the vibrant ecosystem at Hackney’s Woodberry Wetlands, which has grown around a Victorian reservoir. These pockets of the “random landscape”, he writes, are oases that offer fascinating insights into the relationship between nature and artificial environments. Faber & Faber, £ 16.99.

Read More: Spring Reads: Six Ways To Celebrate The Great Outdoors While Staying Inside

Best for linguaphiles

11. Fifty Words for Snow, by Nancy Campbell

Award-winning writer Nancy Campbell uses 50 words for snow from around the world to show what snow means to different cultures. Snow is not still and not always white, she notes – and this is just a starting point for her exploration of the language that describes myriad snowy landscapes, from mountain peaks and glaciers to boreal cities and Baltic landscapes. Elliott & Thomson, £ 12.99.

12. The Lost Spells by Robert Macfarlane & Jackie Morris

A companion piece to the couple’s The Lost Words, this pocket-sized ‘Magic Book’ delves into the vocabulary we use to name our flora and fauna, including the mundane and often unsung – like barn owl, silver birch, jay, and jackdaw. His ‘magic poems’ are life-giving incantations that must be read aloud to remember the great miracle in small things. The words are paired with beautiful illustrations that add to its appeal. Penguin Books, £ 14.00.

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