The Solway: Cumbria/Dumfries and Galloway
The Solway: Cumbria/Dumfries and Galloway (Best Birdwatching Sites series) by John Miles | Softcover | 2010 | Buckingham Press | ISBN 0955033934 | NHBS Price: £17.50 | c. $27/€21
The Solway estuary, which separates the scenic counties of Cumbria and Dumfries & Galloway, is a magical place for both birdwatchers and walkers and this addition to the trusted Best Birdwatching Sites series provides all the information needed to get the best from this unspoilt region.
Author John Miles, a wildlife consultant and former RSPB warden, details 84 different birding sites on the Scottish side of the water (including 49 routes for walkers) and offers equally extensive coverage to 76 coastal and inland sites in Cumbria (54 walk routes). Each report features detailed maps plus helpful directions, seawatching tips, advice on disabled access and public transport, as well as information on which birds can be seen at different times of the year.
Many birders will know a couple of sites such as Caelaverock with its thousands of winter geese or St Bees Head with its seabirds… but this book shows there are some hidden gems rarely visited even by visiting groups such as the thinly populated areas of lowland Scotland and England’s northwest and brilliant sites in Cumbria’s more Industrial, urban and less picturesque areas.
Regular readers of these reviews will know that I am a fan of Buckingham Press’s design of these guides and this is no exception. Furthermore, this author’s writing style, like that of the series’ other authors has been well channeled by the tight editing. Bad editors stultify style and can amputate soul without adding a thing, whereas good editors allow individuality to show through while ensure a formula that makes it most useful to the reader.
I am not a fan of the illustrations but this is probably merely a matter of taste – I can find no other faults. The series remains head and shoulders above the competition.
Created: 07th Jan 2011