Weird Walk

Wanderings and Wonderings through the British Ritual Year

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Pub Date 10 Oct 2023 | Archive Date 03 Oct 2023

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Description

The first book by iconic zine creators and cultural phenomenon Weird Walk. This is a superbly designed guide to Britain's strange and ancient places, to standing stones and pagan rituals, and to the process of re-enchantment via weird walking.

In this book is a radical idea. By walking the ancient landscape of Britain and following the wheel of the year, we can reconnect to our shared folklore, to the seasons and to nature. Let this hauntological gazetteer guide you through our enchanted places and strange seasonal rituals:

  • SPRING: Watch the equinox sunrise light up the floating capstone of Pentre Ifan and connect with the Cailleach at the shrine of Tigh nam Bodach in the remote Highlands 
  • SUMMER: Feel the resonance of ancient raves and rituals in the stone circles of southwest England’s Stanton Drew, Avebury and the Hurlers
  • AUTUMN: Bring in the harvest with the old gods at Coldrum Long Barrow, and brave the ghosts on misty Blakeney Point 
  • WINTER: Make merry at the Chepstow wassail, and listen out for the sunken church bells of the lost medieval city of Dunwich
The first book by iconic zine creators and cultural phenomenon Weird Walk. This is a superbly designed guide to Britain's strange and ancient places, to standing stones and pagan rituals, and to the...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781786786821
PRICE $28.95 (USD)
PAGES 288

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Featured Reviews

I don't normally bother with samplers on Netgalley, not least because they bring with them the quandary of how best to record them on Goodreads. Here, though, I did want to know ahead of the book's release whether it was worth getting for those of us who already have the parent 'zine. Short answer: yes. Obviously it won't be so easily popped in a pocket, and the lack of any sketch maps for walks feels like a shame (map references and OS suggestions are supplied instead). But the photographs look far better here, even in a supposedly low-res file, and the repetition of earlier content is minimal. As against the mag's sometimes baffling organisation - I still love that the first article in the first issue was a beginner's guide to dungeon synth - the scheme here is much clearer; walks are divided by suggested season, with the sampler containing spring (and Stewart Lee's excellent introduction. Of the authors: "No one knows who they are, or what they are doing. But their legacy remains. Are they bound together in blood by the call of the Way of the Weird Walk? Or are they just trying to escape mundane reality by adding an air of significance to what may essentially be extended rural pub crawls with ideas above their station?"). Some locations are familiar to anyone the least bit into this stuff - Cerne Abbas, Padstow - while others are more niche. Most of the entries go beyond their ostensible topic to some wider observation, maybe on a relevant book or film, perhaps on giant legends, or how even a folly can accrue a certain numinous quality with surprising speed. Importantly, they don't fall for some of the loopier anti-modernity which the revival of interest in folk culture can try to smuggle through: "It is easy to re-imagine pre-modern, rural lives in overly sentimental terms, as an arcadian time before the Industrial Revolution and the "dark satanic mills". The truth is life was often exceedingly harsh - toiling in the fields in savage British weather, scratching out subsistence, raising animals to sell and to slaughter, fending off disease." The project is about trying to recover things of value which have been lost, not a wholesale turning back of the clock. Their turn of phrase helps with this, able to be enchanted and irreverent within the same entry, avoiding earnestness without collapsing into a craven refusal to admit they're genuinely into their subject (the Cerne Abbas chapter is especially good for this, with the man himself looking "as though you have interrupted the colossal geoglyph in a particularly arousing, yet private, cudgel-wielding session.").

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Firstly I wasn't aware of the "cultural phenomenon" Weird Walk, and I'm still not quite sure what it is either if I'm honest - so I was just expecting this to be a book of walks to "weird" places! On that front it isn't exactly what I expected, but I did still enjoy it.

This book basically gathers together a bunch of cool and unusual places and events within Britain that hark back to an older and more mysterious era. There isn't a great deal of emphasis on the walks involved to get to these places, and for several of them it's literally a walk from the car park and then plot your own route on an OS map if you want to go any further, but to be honest books of walks often don't work anyway since by the time you get chance to go and do them all, scattered over the British Isles as they are, at least some of the details of footpaths, pubs and public transport are invariably out of date.

The photos are great and I like the way that the descriptions are written in a chatty, witty style. There's a good variety of sites and events chosen so it doesn't get repetitive either. Overall I liked it a lot and would have been happy to read more than the sampler I had from Netgalley.

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