Map Making

Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

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THIS MIGHT seem a bit elaborate for a walks book but I'd like my book of Walks around Horbury to be a bit different. In some walks books the maps are clear but perhaps a bit cold, in mine I'd like to celebrate the pleasures of getting out of town; thirty minutes walk from the High Street you're there between river and canal down amongst the valley's pastures, marshes, subsidence flashes, canal-side willows and ridge-top oakwood. In addition to the wildlife interest there are plenty of reminders of the history of the valley

I like picture maps in children's books such those on the endpapers of The Hobbit and Winnie-the-Pooh. In the BBC series Map Man Nicholas Crane tests, on the ground, a variety of historical maps, going back as John Speed's and Christopher Saxton's early surveys of Britain. Crane makes the point that what is left out of a map is as revealing as what is shown; a good example being the London Underground map by Harry Beck.

This is my home patch, Addingford in the Calder valley. There are a lot of memories there for me, a lot of my own history. It's where I first explored the countryside for myself when, as a schoolboy aged 9 or 10, I'd wander off with my friends down towards the canal. I was struck then, as I am now, by the way the familiar small town world (depicted with bland grey hatching in this map, there's my preconceptions creeping in!) abruptly gave way to rough and rambling countryside at Addingford Steps (middle, left). next

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