"A model of what a practical and enticing guidebook should be ... an attractive, clear, and above all, eminently practical guide." - Outdoor Focus Autumn 2018, p4
Our new, expanded and fully revised second edition of this guidebook was released in July 2018. It covers this challenging coast-to-coast walk of 184 miles (296 km) across the north of England. Starting from St Bees on the Cumbria coast, it ends at Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Sea, passing through three National Parks – the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors. Most walkers complete it within 12 to 16 days, although some divide it into two or more separate expeditions.
Devised by the legendary Alfred Wainwright, the Coast to Coast is justly famous as England’s most popular walk. The scenery is splendidly varied and you pass many historic buildings, prehistoric sites and interesting heritage. It is generally waymarked, albeit not within the Lake District National Park, and it has plenty of accommodation and welcoming pubs. Both its ends and its two ‘midpoints’ (Kirkby Stephen and Richmond) are accessible by public transport.
The new edition features many photographs by the award-winning landscape photographer Karen Frenkel. Freshly commissioned mapping with relief colour and 25-metre contour interval appears on 25 of its pages. It covers many of Wainwright’s preferred route options, but it weighs under 300g/10 oz.
Update (August 2022): Natural England has just announced a £5.6 million upgrade to the route, due to be completed by 2025. For more info, see this page in the Guardian.
This guidebook contains all you need to plan and enjoy the Coast to Coast:
- concise directions (revised 2018) for the route walked west to east
- 25 pages of easy-to-follow mapping (1:55,000)
- altitude profiles for each section and for route options
- background on geology, history and wildlife
- pros and cons of high-level route options
- ten top tips from experienced Coast-to-Coasters
- bonus content free to download
- contact details for accommodation and transport
- features on St Bees, Grasmere, Richmond and Robin Hood’s Bay
- over 150 superb colour photographs
- rainproof, rucksack-friendly format.
Click on the thumbnails below to view sample pages from the book "Coast to Coast" in standard PDF format.
To reduce loading time, resolution is limited in these extracts, but all photographs are printed at top quality in our books. All text and images are copyrighted ©Rucksack Readers and licensors: please respect our intellectual property.
Reviewed by Outdoor Focus (2nd edition)
A model of what a practical and enticing guidebook should be. This new edition has revised and updated route directions; support for GPS on your smartphone; several overlaid photographs to help with routefinding, and even some of creator Alfred Wainwright’s preferred but unadopted route options.
The 1:55,000 mapping page-bypage by Lovell Johns Ltd is crystal clear, and the guide benefits from Rucksack’s standard rain-proof encapsulation. The preliminary background features on subjects such as geology, the National Parks, Wainwright and history and wildlife are thoroughly researched and wellwritten. Anyone contemplating Wainwright’s marathon – surely his finest achievement – through some of northern England’s finest landscapes need look no further for an attractive, clear, and above all, eminently practical guide.
Roly Smith, Outdoor Focus (Autumn 2018, page 4)
From an online review by Rucksack Rose
… the book has been thoughtfully produced, addressing some of the physical problems many walkers will have experienced with walking guides (rain damage and spine deterioration). I also appreciate the thoughtful extras such as the downloadable pdf guide and GPX file which allow the walker to get everything they require in a one stop shop.
Many walking books are self consciously low spec on the reasonable assumption that they will take a bit of rough handling during a walk. It is therefore quite nice to find a guide that subverts the trend by proving that quality doesn’t have to be sacrificed to durability.
From a detailed online review of the 2nd edition
The book is a visual treat, printed in full colour throughout with hundreds of wonderful photos. The spiral bound format makes it easy to use, folding back completely to the open pages. The paper stock is high quality with a shiny, rain resistant finish, so you don’t have to worry about the book falling to pieces when the weather turns bad.
There’s a supporting website which has an interactive Google map, a file to download for your GPS device and, most interesting of all, the ability to download an exact copy of the route notes and maps section of the book, in a PDF file. This is something you’d pay extra for in a Cicerone guide and is a great value-add for this publication. You could leave the book at home and use the PDF on your phone, if you were so inclined.
The route descriptions are much improved from the first edition and tricky sections like Greenup Edge now have special mentions and more detail. The addition of route alternatives in this edition is also a huge improvement. We now have notes and maps for Helm Crag and St. Sunday Crag. The omission of the Helvellyn/Striding Edge route is noted in the book and I agree with the sentiment – this is not a route for your typical C2C walker. The Keld to Reeth leg has high and low level options too, with the low level being treated as the ‘normal’ route – this seems to match the choice made by the majority of C2C walkers now, with only a small percentage of walkers using the high route.
Full review posted by www.lonewalker.net 29.7.18
Excerpt from a review in tgo magazine
Sandra Bardwell’s guide is the latest, and possibly best-presented of all. It is spiral-bound, waterproof and gloriously illustrated in colour. Mapping, provided by Footprint, … is detailed and easy to read; the amount of information about planning and tackling the route is excellently judged, as is the background detail on history, wildlife and AW himself.
John Manning in tgo February 2011 page 51
From Brian Gilsenan's review in IML 2010
If Sandra Bardwell’s book had been available at the time, I could have saved myself hours of retracing footsteps … The book has comprehensive directions … as well as very clear and detailed maps for each section. … All in all, this is an excellent guide which should get the walker from the Irish Sea to the North Sea without putting a foot wrong. It is handsomely turned out and seems tough and durable.
Irish Mountain Log no 95, page 53
Excerpt from Literary Lookaround with Joyce Wilson (Keswick Reminder)
This is one of the very best guidebooks I’ve ever encountered. It is a beautifullly crafted book which fits neatly into a rucksack. Sandra Bardwell … is to be commended for producing this well-researched and lovely guide which follows the Wainwright route. … The maps are excellent: they are very clear and easy to follow. I also like the Facilities along the Route section on page 7 …
Keswick Reminder, 19.2.2010 p8
Excerpt from review in the Wainwright Society Newsletter
It is nearly 40 years since AW devised the C2C walk, since when there have been a considerable number of guidebooks riding on the success of his book, but I feel this new publication brings a modern approach to the route.
John Burland, Footsteps Sept 2010, page 27
From an online review
There is excellent background information on the geology, history and wildlife of the area amongst other things, including a brief biography of Alfred Wainwright himself. Inside the back cover you will find a diagram of the whole route (locating each of the maps for the route’s 15 stages) and an altitude profile of the entire route – together these provide a very useful overview.
The route is broken down into 15 stages in the third section of the guide. Each stage starts with a description of distance to be covered, terrain, opportunities to find food and drink, and a specific altitude profile. These are followed by highly detailed instructions on how to follow each stage of the route (including alternative routes), and stage maps. The guide ends with a useful reference section, which includes lots of links.
The guide is robustly constructed, and the paper used by this publisher has survived my own rain test as genuinely water resistant. The guide is illustrated throughout with interesting colour photographs, and it is clear that a great deal of research and attention to detail has gone into writing and designing this compact and comprehensive guide.
SBrionyS review on Amazon.co.uk (June 2012)
Excerpt from review in Lakeland Walker
This has to be one of the most practical companions to this epic trek. Author Sandra Bardwell … breaks the route down into daily sections, with clear directions and useful hints along the way.
Each section has its own chapter with a detailed 1:50,000 scale map showing the route and a vertical representation of the climbs involved plus plenty of colourful pictures. There’s also a useful reference section, an extensive chapter on planning and preparation and several chapters that explain the geological, natural and historical contexts.
While the narrative perhaps lacks the character and charm of one of AW’s pictorial guides, the practical information and the way it is presented makes this attractive little guide one of the best companions you could take with you on the C2C.
Lakeland Walker May/June 2010 page 53
Reviewed in Walk Magazine
A new guide to the popular Wainwright route from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay, with 28 pages of clear 1:50,000 mapping, excellent colour photos and useful information, on waterproof paper.
Summer 2010 issue, page 91
Reviewed in the Lancashire Telegraph
This is a highly detailed guide to the Wainwright route, which offers complete directions for the 184-mile trek from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay. Thankfully the author, Sandra Bardwell breaks this challenging walk into 15 easier stages, the longest being just 16.5 miles. Her experience in the field is clear throughout, with her notes on places to view and stay adding a personal touch. The book is an ideal size, perfect for rucksacks and is fully waterproof …
Jon Robinson, the Lancashire Telegraph, 9.3.2010
From the Yorkshire Post
Could be just the kick up the posterior I need … to tackle what is a cracking walk, through some of the best countryside in England.
Yes, the maps aren’t up to Wainwright’s artwork, but they don’t need to be; this latest book is virtually a step-by-step guide.
Anyway, sensible ramblers will take 1:25,000 maps of the route as well as the guide, which is colourful, well detailed, has accommodation and transport information, is spiral-bound and, joy of joys, is waterproof.
David Overend in the Yorkshire Post, 2 April 2010
Now Rucksack Readers have published the first waterproof version of the guidebook … a sturdy, colourful and waterproof guide, compact and rucksack-friendly. We have five copies to give away.
Leisure section, 27.3.10
From a review in the Big Issue in the North
Colourful, sturdy and above all waterproof, this is a great new guide to the legendary Alfred Wainwright’s 184-mile walk.
Big Issue in the North, February 2010
Excerpt from Lonewalker's Walking Diary (blog)
Could be just the book to redefine the benchmark and grab a large share of this fiercely competitive market. It looks and feels like a quality publication. The internal pages are spiral bound in approximately A5 size with a sturdy plastic-coated card folder protecting them. The spiral bound format makes it simple to open and keep open at the right place and the stiff card sleeve makes a useful book mark … a very pleasant reading experience.
I also like the inclusion of gradient profiles for each of the days described in the book, these are coloured coded to show altitude and key locations are identified along the profile with a red dot. The book covers the walk in 15 stages, which is probably a day or two longer than most people take – as people tend to try and fit it into 2 weeks holiday from work.
As all good guide books should be in this modern, Internet-aware age, the book is supplemented by an informative website, the crowning jewel of which is the interactive Google map of the whole route, complete with many points of interest identified.
Read the full review at http://www.lonewalker.walkingplaces.co.uk/diary/?p=277/
Comment from Bill Mitchell, a personal friend of AW
Coast to Coast: the Wainwright Route is the type of publication that Wainwright himself would have appreciated. His pictorial guides were small but well-filled, with visual features well integrated. This new guidebook is the best sort, handy but informative, containing background information, succinct notes, eye-catching maps, profiles of the terrain and a wide range of photographs – all in glorious colour. The whole thing is even waterproof, and a credit to the author and publisher.
Dr W R Mitchell, MBE
Here is a 2-minute video to illustrate features of the guidebook.