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Book Launch and Talk: Walking the White Horses

Father and son publish account of 93-mile walk around Wiltshire’s White Horses –
Walking the White Horses: Wiltshire’s White Horse Trail on Foot, by David Clensy

In the summer of 2023, David Clensy set off on a long walk – seeking to tackle the 93 miles of Wiltshire’s White Horse Trail, joined in the adventure by his wide-eyed 10-year-old son, Charlie. Walking the White Horses, a work of narrative non-fiction, which was published in November 2023, follows their progress as they make their way from horse to horse. The book takes the reader on a lyrical and entertaining meander through the natural wonders of southern England’s chalk downland environment, its people, heritage and wildlife. Along the way the author explores the story of these striking equine hill figures and the role they have played in the cultures, belief systems and lived experiences of Wiltshire folk across the centuries.

David Clensy, a writer and former newspaper journalist from Trowbridge, said: “The white horses are iconic features of Wiltshire’s chalk downlands – symbolic of humanity’s shaping of the natural landscape to reflect our passions for wildlife throughout history. The book celebrates both the natural world we experienced on the walk and the heritage treasures carved into our landscape.”

There are eight White Horses still visible in the Wiltshire landscape today – Westbury, Devizes, Cherhill, Broad Town, Hackpen, Marlborough, Pewsey and Alton Barnes. The 93-mile walk takes in them all. The book culminates in a visit to the most famous – and the oldest by many centuries – the Uffington White Horse, over the county border in present day Oxfordshire (formerly Berkshire). Charlie’s place alongside the author as they take on the journey, opens up the narrative to become a charming portrait of a father and son relationship. The 10-year-old’s wide-eyed enthusiasm for exploring the nature on his own doorstep and his fascination for the white horse hill figures helps to create a unique piece of work, reigniting the youthful wonder for our natural environment deep within us all. “Charlie loved every minute of the walk,” the author said. “To experience the landscape of his home county by foot in this way in one long memorable summer at the age of 10, will I hope, inspire a lifetime of wonder in the world around him.”

Date: Tuesday 5 December
Time: Doors open 6.45 pm for a 7.30 pm start
Venue: Wiltshire Museum, Lecture Hall
Tickets: £11 (profits to be split between author and Wiltshire Museum)

Walking the White Horses: Wiltshire’s White Horse Trail on Foot, by David Clensy, is priced £8.99 and will be available on the night at the Museum.

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