After reading the books about Steep Holm and Weston-super-Mare by Rosie and Howard Smith, I was very intrigued to read their other publication on the north part of the Somerset coast. The story starts in Worlebury, then moves to Kewstoke, Sand Bay through to Yatton, Clevedon, and Ladye Bay. Then up to Sugar Loaf Beach, Portishead, Pill and finally to Hotwells’ Locks.
The Alternative Guidebook to North Somerset is beautifully illustrated by Rosie Smith. It contains many interesting historical, geological, botanical and personal stories about this region: the light railway between Weston, Clevedon and Portishead (referred as WC & Pee in short); the hanging field in Kenn, or the once popular bathing beach in Portishead (oh yes, there was even a paddling pool!). To give you a little flavour of the book, I’ll cite my favourite extract below:
Rosie Smith. ‘The Sand Bay Years’. 1958-1968.
Rosie’s dad, Peter Smith, had a dream of living by the sea. The family often visited Weston, so when the chance of a brand new bungalow on Sand Bay’s Beach Road (no. 75) came up, he jumped at it. They brought the nameplate (Mount Carmel) of their house in Horfield, Bristol, with them. (…) But living right on the coast proved to be a challenge. It was always windy – too windy to ever use the front door. (…) Rosie’s mum, Maud, battling with sand in every cranny, soon found that Sand Bay was really quite isolated. (…) But for Rosie, it was eternal summer. Endless sunny days out on the beach and Mum blowing a whistle for me to come in for meals.” (p. 23-4)
I’ll finish my review with these idyllic words. I hope I inspired you to read Rosie and Howard Smith’s book and to visit North Somerset.
Have you read any interesting alternative guidebooks recently? Please let me know in the comments below.