‘Byways’ – Poems and Stories on foot

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Next week sees the launch of Arachne Press’s latest anthology, featuring poems and stories about tracks, beaten and unbeaten, throughout the U.K. and further afield.


I love walking. I love following paths, trails, tracks – call them whatever you like! So when Arachne announced the theme of its latest project, I felt it was something I could happily write about.

Living in Pembrokeshire means I have plenty of choice. Its coast path was recently voted once of the best trails in the world. I love it! But I felt it was rather too obvious as a subject, so I looked, instead, to the mountains, which I also love.

The Golden Road stretches across the spine of the hills (the definition of a mountain is above 2000 feet, so technically, the Preselis do not qualify, as the highest is around 1759 feet, though they always seem like mountains to me!).

It is an ancient track, which has been followed for various purposes, down the ages, from the neolithic to its present-day role, as a tourist destination.

So I decided I would write about this. And I decided I would like to reference all those different groups of people who had taken that route, their footsteps beating down the path, each on top of the one that had gone before.

A palimpsest is something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form.

This seemed a good title for my story. The stone is certainly still visible along the track.

And although the other uses may not be so apparent, as I say at the end of my piece: ‘If you stop, you will feel their passing, beneath your feet – on the path they made.’

And here I am, reading my story at the end of the Golden Road.

Do come along to the launch, if you can. It’s free. Or, if not, buy a copy of the book from Arachne. There are so many amazing trails featured in it – it might give you the inspiration to follow some of them!

Thank you, as ever, to Cherry Potts, at Arachne, for liking my work.