We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

Between the Chalk and the Sea

On sale

16th February 2023

Select a format

Selected: Other merchandise / ISBN-13: 9781035402144
See All

Disclosure: If you buy products using the retailer buttons above, we may earn a commission from the retailers you visit.


Ben Rawlence, author of The Treeline and City of Thorns
Few books change the way you see familiar landscapes: this is one of them. A sacred, humble and rewarding journey, like the pilgrimage itself.
Raynor Winn
I loved this memoir - centuries of stories captured in the chalk, all told through the prism of one life.
Stephen Moss
This is a brilliantly modern take on one of the oldest of literary genres - the pilgrimage narrative. Gail Simmons walks a long-forgotten trail, and along the way encounters places, people and a myriad of obstacles, for who walks so far in today's car-obsessed world? But this is no ordinary walk, but one with a purpose: to discover the meaning of what it means to be British in these troubled and disjointed times.
Neil Ansell
As she follows a long-lost pilgrimage route, Gail Simmons finds a whole new way of looking at a familiar landscape. Every footstep is steeped in history, every path is imbued with the traces of all those who came before.
Sophy Roberts, author of The Lost Pianos of Siberia
A stunningly evoked, sensitively drawn journey into a part of England that feels both ancient and entirely new. Such is the subtle power and lightly-worn erudition of Simmons' writing.
Nicola Chester, author of On Gallows Down
Through four pagan seasons, following the ancient Gough Map and the Old Way, Gail Simmons pioneers a very modern pilgrimage, but finds that the past is not so far away . . . walking becomes an act of faith again - but also, it becomes an act of vulnerability and strength, loneliness and connection, peril, exposure and joyful epiphany. Gail makes a compelling journey over iconic chalk country - between the sea and what once was the sea, to a homecoming we can all aspire to.
Tanya Shadrick, author of The Cure for Sleep
An old route for pilgrims is given new and vivid life through Gail Simmons as a solo woman walking. A compelling blend of history and nature writing that is a gift to all of us who love this iconic stretch of chalk cliffs and downland
Wanderlust, Stanfords’ Staff Picks
Wandering the Old Way across 386km of the UK's south coast allows Simmons ample room to touch on history, folklore and modern politics. Along the way she also delves into what long walks, such as the old pilgrim trails, mean to us today and why being a woman walking along still feels like a radical act
Helen Moat, BBC Countryfile
This is a book for the modern pilgrim, as well as nature and history lovers.
Country Walking
An absorbing tale
Church Times
A lively and well-informed companion that makes you - pilgrim or walker - want to see the places for yourself. It brings to life the world of pilgrimage, whether with its ancient focus on the goal, or the modern focus on the journey
Country Life
[Gail] is an engaging companion, bringing to life the places and people she meets en route and offering thoughtful reflections on what it means to travel - especially as a lone woman. Delightful.
Andy Wasley, The Great Outdoors
Such a joy to read . . . the author makes a great walking companion, sharing opinion, nostalgia and wit in warm tones. The Old Way deserves hikers' attention and love; we are lucky to have a chronicler as companionable as Simmons to tell its story.
The pace is pleasantly unhurried. Simmons observes the natural world with precision and affection from the modest summit of Ditchling Beacon to the sopping lowland of the Weald
Resurgence & Ecologist
Simmons is a veteran travel journalist, and she conveys a sense of place deftly . . . a welcome addition to the ever-growing library of British walking literature