The Salt Path

Raynor Wynn

(Penguin Books, £9.99)

“WE stood at the front door, the bailiffs on the other side waiting to change the locks, to bar us from our old lives. We were about to leave the dimly lit, centuries-old house that had held us cocooned for twenty years. When we walked through the door we could never ever come back. We held hands and walked into the light.”

Days after Raynor Wynn learns that Moth, her husband of 32 years, is terminally ill, the couple lose their farmhouse and with it their livelihood. Reeling from these blows, the couple decide to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.

It’s an incredible target for any older couple. Penniless and homeless, they have to carry everything they need on their backs, surviving on a few pounds a day and the kindness of strangers. It’s a tough journey for their battered bodies, under fierce suns and hard rains.

Raynor and Moth wild-camp, and worry constantly about getting moved on. The privations and pain are never sugar-coated but as they conquer their daily challenges, nature begins to heal their souls.

This is the kind of book that you will read in bed, the gulls crying in your imagination and the rain sliding harmlessly off the window outside, and be glad you are safe indoors. And it will make you ask: how would you cope if your life suddenly fell apart?

The publishers described The Salt Path as “an honest and life-affirming true story of coming to terms with grief and the healing power of the natural world. Ultimately, it is a portrayal of home, and how it can be lost, rebuilt and rediscovered in the most unexpected ways.”

And that’s pretty accurate. An inspiring read.




BBC1, Monday 7.30pm

Dougie Vipond investigates how rural businesses are transforming to become delivery services, while Anne Lundon tries out the fast-growing sport of canicross, running with help from your dog.

Plus viewer video dairies about how life is continuing around the countryside, and the campaign to plant one million trees.