Ring of Stone Circles: Exploring Neolithic Cumbria

An exploration of the visible clues to our mysterious past from the Neolithic and Bronze Ages as represented by the many enduring stone circles. Cumbria boasts more of these monuments than any other English county. Here, our tallest mountains are ringed by about 50 circles and henges, most of them sited in the foothills or on outlying plateaux.

Were these the earliest such monuments in Britain, placing Cumbria at the heart of Neolithic society? And what traces of that society remain today in the roads we travel, the food we eat, the words we speak, or in our work and play? By observing and comparing many sites in Cumbria and beyond, and researching many sources, a greater understanding emerges.

Some circles may have been built for ritualistic purposes, or perhaps as astronomical calendars to aid early farming. Some were burial sites, but many were perhaps just places for people to meet and exchange goods and stories.

Illustrated with beautifully crafted linocuts by Denise Burden, Ring of Stone Circles describes the search for the hidden stories these monuments guard and may yet reveal if we only get to know them. (Published April 2022)

“An intriguing and often amusing journey through what little we know – and the great deal that we don’t – about our Neolithic and Bronze Age ancestry.” Steve Anglesey, Editor, The New European

Walking the Line: Exploring Settle & Carlisle Country

Widely known as England’s most scenic line, the enduring Settle & Carlisle Railway was built by the Midland Railway between 1869 and 1876, as part of its quest to forge its own, independent route to Scotland. It is, uniquely for a railway in the UK, a Conservation Area in its own right, with viaducts, tunnels, bridges, stations, trackside structures and railway workers’ cottages all enjoying special protection.

By walking all or parts of the route from Settle to Carlisle, you get the chance to get up close to the railway’s magnificent architecture – and to see the lonely and lofty fells, and stunning scenery from the Dales through the Pennines to the limestone pavements of Westmorland and the green Eden Valley. In the company of the knowledgeable author, you’ll discover centuries’ worth of local history and traditions: Roman remains, medieval castles, and the Romani who still meet at the annual Appleby Horse Fair. (Published June 2021)

“An endearing love-letter to the Settle to Carlisle Railway. It is an enticing mix of reminiscence, history, characters and practical information that lift it far above the level of a conventional guide book. It is evocative and affecting, with a rich sense of time and place. Written with both style and clarity, it is a must for anyone who wants to walk the route or ride the train.” Peter Gillman (author & Vice-Chair of the Outdoor Writers & Photographers Guild)

Click here to watch a video about Walking the Line.

Click here to listen to Stan Abbott, interviewed on Countrystrides podcast.

Settle & Carlisle Country: Including a New Long-Distance Walk and Cycle Route from Leeds to Carlisle

This is the original guide book to the Settle-Carlisle Way, using the route devised by Stan Abbott with Colin Speakman and John Morrison, the authors.

It was published in 1990 by Leading Edge Press & Publishing and now comes with a simple commentary by Stan Abbott, advising where walkers may encounter problems with the original route and also suggesting alternative options that are consistent with the route followed by Stan Abbott in Walking the Line.

Previously loved copies available at £5 plus P & P.

Settle & Carlisle: The Enduring Life of the People’s Railway

Settle & Carlisle: The Enduring Life of the People’s Railway A revised and updated version of The Line That Refused To Die, Stan Abbott and Alan Whitehouse’s comprehensive 1990 account of seven-year battle to save England’s most iconic railway from closure.

This new book reflects on the life of the line and on the way its purpose has evolved in the subsequent 30 years, noting that the money spent on turning it into a modern, durable railway has dwarfed the originally cited cost of replacing Ribblehead Viaduct – a cost upon which the British Rail case for closure was originally built.

“There haven’t been many happy endings in the recent history of Britain’s railways, but this book celebrates one of them.” Author, TV presenter and adventurer Michael Palin in his original foreword to The Line That Refused To Die.

Due out Autumn 2022

Bipolar Disorder – Stand Clear Of The Revolving Door

Designed as a non-fiction complement to Stan Abbott’s fictional account of a similar manic episode, The Episode.

This little book offers a first-hand description of how it feels to first experience a manic episode; the process of healing; and the slower process of full recovery. It also includes useful definitions, advice for sufferers of bipolar disorder and bipolar 2, and a list of useful organisations that help those suffering from mental illness.

Available on Kindle from Amazon – click here to buy.

Stone Circles and Mental Health: Can Henges Heal?

Designed as a non-fiction complement to Stan Abbott’s fictional account of a similar manic episode, The Episode.

Another short volume complementing both The Episode and Ring of Stone Circles, this little book lifts the cover on theories about the rumoured healing properties of stone circles, with particular reference to mental health.

Available soon on Kindle.

Madness In Fiction: How Mental Health Has Featured In Literature

Another companion to The Episode, this book explores the use of “madness” or mania as creative device by authors through the decades.

Available soon on Kindle.