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World Book Day

In celebration of World Book Day we took a book tour of the UK to bring you some reading recommendations for your next Forest Holiday.

Whether you are staying at Deerpark in Cornwall or over 500 miles away at Ardgartan Argyll in Scotland, these are the books to read and the places to visit that will immerse you in the literary life of your location.


 

Dark tales at Deerpark

The most celebrated of Cornish writers, Daphne Du Maurier, evokes a Cornwall where smugglers and wreckers inhabit the coast and troubled lovers meet on the moors. Setting and character are inextricably intertwined, making essential reading for your Cornwall break. If fresh air beckons after hours lost in a book, visit Launceston for the setting of Jamaica Inn, within half an hour’s drive of Deerpark.

The Cornwall of children’s books is altogether more suited to seaside holidays. While you lose yourself in the danger and romance of Du Maurier, the children can read Ingo by Helen Dunmore or, for reading aloud with younger children, The Mousehole Cat by Antonia Barber. 


 

Watership Down at
Blackwood Forest

Close to where Berkshire meets Hampshire, in verdant, rolling countryside, you will find Watership Down, the setting of Richard Adams’ much-loved animal adventure story. This captivating tale is one for children and adults to read during a stay at Blackwood Forest.

Visit the real Watership Down to appreciate just how lovingly Adams has recreated this, his familiar childhood landscape. There are many local walks and also a reasonably challenging 12 mile cycle ride that takes you along the route the fictional rabbits travelled and rewards you with magnificent views.


 

Harry Potter in the
FOrest of Dean

The Harry Potter books by J K Rowling celebrate many places in the UK and in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry, Hermione and Ron pitch up in the Forest of Dean, a childhood holiday haunt of the author. When exploring the forest you can appreciate the mystical qualities that make it perfect for a wizard fantasy.

This landscape has inspired writers, poets and playwrights for centuries, including JRR Tolkien, Wordsworth, Frost and Dennis Potter. A rewarding afternoon might be spent following in their footsteps through the Gloucestershire and Herefordshire countryside, ending, naturally, at the book town of Hay on Wye.


 

Children's Story time aT
Thorpe Forest

Norwich based children’s author Kevin Price has written some fabulous children’s books, ideal for your holiday at Thorpe Forest. His debut book, The Beauty Contest at The Zoo, is one that your children will treasure.

Also in the collection are The Silly Solar System and Crazy Creepy Crawlies – fun and, dare we say it, educational books, which will complement your holiday stargazing and forest bug hunting. A share of the proceeds from these books is donated to World Land Trust, helping to protect wildlife habitats around the world.


 

Robin Hood at Sherwood Forest

The legend of Robin Hood has been captured by many authors and we recommend The Adventures of Robin Hood by Marcia Williams, who specialises in child-friendly retellings of legends, myths and stories in classic literature. This beautifully illustrated cartoon strip book is engaging for children of all ages and is perfect for reading in your cabin in the heart of Sherwood Forest.

For the grownups, in this part of the world, it has to be D H Lawrence. From Women in Love to Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Lawrence reframed the English novel and in the process courted considerable controversy. Worth a visit between reading sessions is the D H Lawrence Heritage Centre, a 40 minute drive from Sherwood Forest.


 

Gothic & Ghostly at
Cropton & Keldy

Bram Stoker’s Dracula permeates the streets and surroundings of the coastal town of Whitby. Catch the North York Moors steam train from Pickering for an atmospheric afternoon. The dramatic landscape of the Yorkshire Moors is also the backdrop to the Bronte sisters’ writing. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is essential for your cabin reading.

For younger readers The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, is a classic of children’s literature. Published in 1911 and set in Yorkshire, it deals with themes that resonate today such as positive thinking and the healing power of nature.


 

Required reading at
Strathyre & Ardgartan Argyll

It’s a question of where to start with Scottish literature, there is so much to choose from. After much consideration we recommend anything and everything by Iain Banks – try The Crow Road first, which is set largely in Argyll and Glasgow.

For little ones, we suggest the Katie Morag Stories, written and illustrated by Mairi Hedderwick, and for 8-12 year olds, Light on Dumyat by Rennie Mcowan, set in Stirling so you can visit the locations from Strathyre. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson is a must-read and finally, we come back to Harry Potter, written by JK Rowling in the Elephant House Cafe in Edinburgh. There are many locations from the films that you can visit and that Café is still there in Edinburgh.

How do you like our reading list? What would you add? Which books will you be taking with you on your Forest Holiday this year? Let us know your favourites, and in the meantime have a very happy World Book Day!